Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death

Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
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Death in America is largely a foodborne illness. Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, Dr. Greger offers practical advice on how best to feed ourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse many of the top 15 killers in the United States.

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In past years I’ve addressed the most pressing dietary issues of our time, like: What’s the healthiest variety of apple, the most nutritious nut, the best bean, the best berry, the best bowel movement!…

Who’s #1 at #2? Well, it wasn’t the new Yorkers—the most constipated population ever described in the medical literature, outputting an average of just 3 measly ounces a day…

Maybe if they’d just eat a big apple once and awhile…

But this year, I thought I’d lighten it up, and answer: What’s-the-best… way-to-prevent, death. Every year the CDC updates the leading causes of death in the United States. So, let’s just start at the top, and touch on what’s new in each category.

Heart disease, #1. The 35 year follow-up of the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study was just published now the most definitive long-term study ever on older women’s health. Since the study started, thousands of participants died, but that allowed them to determine the “risk factors for mortality.”

Because heart disease was the leading cause of death, it comes as no surprise that dietary cholesterol consumption was significant risk factor for dying. The second leading cause was smoking-related cancer deaths, but what’s so neat about this study is that it’s a competing risks analysis, so it allowed them to compare different risks to one another.

Consuming the amount of cholesterol found in just a single egg-a-day appears to cut a woman’s life short as much as smoking 5 cigarettes a day, for 15 years.

The most protective behavior they found was fiber consumption. Eating just a cup of oatmeal’s worth of fiber a day appears to extend a woman’s life as much as 4 hours of jogging a week, but of course there’s no reason you can’t do both.

It’s worth noting that the intake of cholesterol, only found in animal foods, was associated with living a shorter life and the intake of fiber, only found in plant foods, was associated with living a longer life.

The one specific food most tied to longevity was, nuts. You also appear to get 4 hours of weekly jogging benefit eating just two handfuls of nuts a week.

Yeah, heart disease, #1 cause of death, but what if your cholesterol’s normal? I hear that all the time, and have to break it to them that having a “normal” cholesterol in a society where it’s normal to… drop dead of a heart attack—is not necessarily a good thing. Remember, it’s our #1 killer.

In a huge study last year, most heart attack patients “fell within recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines may not be low enough to cut heart attack risk.” Close to half of heart attack victims had quote-unquote “optimal” cholesterol levels… though I’m not sure their grieving spouses and orphaned children will take much comfort in that fact. What is considered “optimal” is still too high.

Yeah, having a below average cholesterol reduces your risk, but, as the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology wrote more than a decade ago, it’s time to shift from just decreasing risk to actually preventing and arresting atherosclerosis. You don’t want low risk; you want no risk—how do you do it.

“For the build-up of plaque in our arteries to cease, it appears that the serum total cholesterol needs to be lowered to the 150 area. In other words the serum total cholesterol must be lowered to that of the average pure vegetarian. Because relatively few persons are willing to abide by the vegetarian lifestyle, lipid-lowering drugs are required in most to reach the 150 level. So it’s our choice.

Now notice though, even though the average vegan has a cholesterol of 150, it doesn’t mean that all vegans have 150. That’s why I do free cholesterol screenings here at Summerfest. Stop by my table. A little drop of blood. Just will take a couple of minutes. I’ll be happy to do that for you.

So it’s our choice—diet or drugs. Why not just choose the drugs? The FDA just announced newly-mandated safety labeling for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs like Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor, Zocor, and Vytorin, etc. The FDA issued new side-effect warnings regarding the increased risk of brain related side effects such as memory loss and confusion, an increase in blood sugar levels and risk of new-onset diabetes.

One prominent cardiologist described the Faustian bargain: fewer heart attacks, but more diabetes. And, we learned just a few weeks ago “adverse effects of statins on energy levels and fatigue even at moderate doses, particularly for women.

With all the memory loss and confusion caused by these drugs, folks may forget there’s actually way to lower the risk of heart attacks and diabetes at the same time, a plant-based diet.

Now cholesterol is just half of the heart disease story. The other half is inflammation. We’ve known for 15 years, that a single meal high in animal fat— sausage and egg McMuffins were used in the original study— can paralyze our arteries, cutting their ability to relax normally in half within just hours of eating animal products. The lining of our entire vascular tree gets inflamed and stiffened. And just as the inflammatory crippled state starts to calm down 5 or 6 hours later—lunchtime! We may then whack our arteries with another load of meat, eggs, or dairy for lunch, such that most people are stuck in this chronic low-grade inflammation danger zone, which may set them up for inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer one meal at a time.

Does the same thing to our lungs–again, within hours. Inflammation in our airways. A single meal causing internal damage not just decades down the road but right then and there, that day, within hours of it going in your mouth.

And just this year, we may have finally solved the mystery as to why. It doesn’t appear to be the animal fat itself. And it’s apparently not the animal protein, (which is what we see triggering inflammation in arthritis). So if it’s not the animal fat, and it’s not the animal protein, what is it?

The whole thing is a crazy cool detective story that I’ll be putting up in a series of videos next week actually, but I’ll just cut to the chase—spoiler alert! After a meal of animal products, people suffer from endotoxemia, their bloodstream becomes awash with bacterial toxins, known as endotoxins, that are present in animal products. So no wonder our body goes crazy.

These dead meat bacteria toxins aren’t destroyed by stomach acid… aren’t destroyed by digestive enzymes, aren’t destroyed by cooking—they tried boiling meat for hours. “These bacterial endotoxins were found to be highly resistant to cooking and our bodies’ best attempts at acid and enzyme digestion.”

And then the animal fat actually does play a profound role, ferrying the bacterial toxins present in the meat through the gut wall into our system.

So the reason animal products trigger immediate inflammation appears to be because they’re so loaded with bacteria that can trigger inflammation dead or alive even when they’re fully cooked, and saturated animal fat then boosts the absorption of the bacterial toxins into our bloodstream.

So now that we know what’s going on, what do we need to do? From a 2012 follow-up: “While the most obvious solution to this metabolic endotoxemia appears to be to reduce saturated fat intake” (which in this country comes mostly from cheese and chicken), but, they say, “the Western diet is not conducive to this mode of action; it’s difficult for patients to comply with this request.” So what? Let’s not even tell them?

This patronizing attitude in the medical profession that “oh, patients won’t improve their diets, or stop smoking—even if it’s going to save their lives, so why bother?” That attitude may be one of the true leading causes of death.

But let’s get back to the official list, and take on Cancer next. What’s the latest?

We know from the largest forward-looking study on diet and cancer ever, that “the incidence of all cancers combined is lower among vegetarians,” especially some of the fastest growing tumors, lymphomas and leukemias. And for that the worst meat was actually chicken….

Up to triple the rates for every 50 grams of daily poultry consumption. That’s just a quarter of a chicken breast may triple your risk.

Normally this entire presentation would be in kind of a quiz show format, but there was a scheduling mix-up. I was supposed to be the last speaker of the night, at night, and so I could go long and not interfere with the schedule. But, anyway, it won’t happen again, and so next year be back to the quiz show format. And I apologize. I had to cut this short.

The link between meat and cancer is such that even the journal Meat Science asked last year “Should we become vegetarians, or… can we make meat safer. There’s a bunch of additives, for example, that “can suppress the toxic effects of heme iron,” the blood iron that’s found in meat. These additives are still under study, but “could provide an acceptable way to prevent colon cancer,” because evidently avoiding meat is just out of the question.

 They fear that if the National Cancer Institute recommendations to reduce meat consumption “were adhered to, sure, cancer incidence may be reduced, but famers and the meat industry would suffer important economical problems…”

For those of us more concerned about the suffering caused the meat industry, than the suffering of the meat industry, what happens if you put cancer on a vegan diet? The Pritikin Research Foundation just completed an elegant series of experiments that I want to spend a bit of time on them. Simple experiments. They put people on different diets, drew their blood and dripped their blood on cancer cells growing in a petri dish and just stood back to see whose blood was better at suppressing cancer growth.

They were the ones that published that study showing the blood of those on a vegan diet was dramatically less hospitable to cancer. Even the blood of those on a standard American diet fights cancer; if it didn’t everyone would be dead. It’s just that the blood of those eating vegan fights about 8 times better.

The blood of those on the standard American diet slows cancer growth rate down about 9%. Put people on a plant-based diet for a year, though, and their blood just tears it up. The blood circulating within the bodies of vegans has nearly 8 times the stopping power when it comes to cancer cell growth.

Now this was for prostate cancer, the most common cancer of men, In women, it’s breast cancer, so the Pritikin researchers tried duplicating the study with women using breast cancer cells instead. They didn’t want to wait a whole year to get the results, though. So they figured they’d see what a plant-based diet could do in just two weeks, against three different types of human breast cancer.

This is the before, cancer growth powering away at 100%. And then after, eating a plant-based diet for 14 days.

The same blood that was now coursing through these women’s bodies gained the power to significantly slow down, and stop breast cancer cell growth thanks to just two weeks of eating a plant-based diet.

What kind of blood do we want in our body, what kind of immune system? Do we want blood that just kind of rolls over when cancer cells pop up, or do we want blood circulating to every nook and cranny of our body that has the power to slow down and stop them?

Now this strengthening of cancer defenses was after 14 days of a plant-based diet and exercise, they were out walking 30 to 60 minutes a day. Maybe the only reason their blood started becoming so effective at suppressing cancer growth was because of the exercise—maybe the diet had nothing to do with it. So they put it do the test.

This is measuring cancer cell clearance. This is what we saw before, the effect of blood taken from those who ate a plant-based diet, in this case for 14 years and along with mild exercise—like just walking every day. Plant-based diet and walking—that’s the kind of cancer cell clearance you get. Compared to the cancer stopping power of your average sedentary meat-eater, which is basically nonexistent.

This middle group, instead of 14 years on a plant-based diet, ate 14 years of a standard American diet but had 14 years of daily strenuous, hour-long exercise, like calisthenics. The researchers wanted to know if you exercise hard enough, long enough, can you rival some strolling plant-eaters.

And… exercise helped—no question, but literally 5,000 hours in the gym, was no match for a plant-based diet.

Here’s an actual photomicrograph of cancer cells stained so that they’d release light when they die. As you can see in the control group, there were a few cancer cells dying. Even if you are a couch potato eating fried potatoes, your body’s not totally defenseless. But here’s the hard-core strenuous exercise group. Cancer cells dying left and right. But nothing appears to kick cancer butt more than a plant based diet. 

Why, though? Some people don’t care why, but I’m always curious. How does a simple dietary change make one’s bloodstream so inhospitable to cancer in just a matter of days? We didn’t know until last year, when “[they] sought to determine the underlying mechanisms for these anticancer effects.”

It’s a wild story I have a whole series of videos coming out about. It in involves little people, big people; It involves big dogs and… little dogs, the story involves marshmallows… tinkertoys… cannibalism, and vegan bodybuilders, from beef steak to beefcake—I wish I had time—but the videos will be up soon. Bottom line—the answer to the Pritikin puzzle is IGF-1.

Insulin-like Growth Factor One is a cancer-promoting growth hormone involved in every stage of cancer growth, proliferation, metastasis, and invasion. But you put people on a plant-based diet and their IGF-1 levels go down, and if they stay on a plant-based diet their levels drop even further.

And their IGF-1 binding protein levels go up. That’s one way our body tries to protect itself from cancer—from excessive growth—by releasing a binding protein into our bloodstream to tie up IGF-1. It’s like our body’s emergency brake. Yes, in as little as 11 days, a plant-based diet can reprogram your body to bring down IGF-1 production, but you still have all that IGF-1 circulating in your bloodstream from the bacon and eggs you had the week before. So, your liver releases a snatch squad of binding proteins to take it out of circulation, and as you can see it just gets better and better the longer you eat healthy.

Here’s the experiment that nailed IGF-1 as the villain. Same as last time. Go on a plant-based diet; Cancer cell growth drops; and cancer cell death, shoots up. But then here’s the kicker. What if you added back to the cancer the exact same amount of IGF-1 banished from your body because you were eating healthy? … It erases the diet and exercise effect. It’s like you never started eating healthy at all.

So that’s how we know that lowering animal product consumption leads to lower IGF-1, which leads to lower cancer growth. But how low does animal-product-consumption have to go? How plant-based does our diet need to get? Well, let’s look at IGF1 levels in meat eaters, versus vegetarians, versus vegans. Does a plant-based diet work better at lower the circulating level of IGF-1 compared with a meat-eating or lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, and this is what they found. Only the vegans had significantly lower levels. And the same relationship found with IGF-binding capacity. Only the vegans were significantly able to bind up excess IGF-1 in their blood streams.

This was a study done on women…, what about vegan men? They found the same thing… So even though vegan men tend to have significantly higher testosterone levels, than both vegetarians and meat eaters—which can be a risk factor for prostate cancer, the reason plant-based diets appear to reverse the progression of prostate cancer, may be due to how low their IGF-1 drops. High testosterone, yet low cancer.

The bottom line… is that male or female, just eating vegetarian did not seem to cut it—didn’t do their body many favors. It looks like to get a significant drop in cancer-promoting growth hormone levels one really has to move towards eliminating animal products altogether. The good news is that given what we now know about IGF-1, we can predict, “that a… vegan diet may be profoundly protective with respect to, for example, risk for breast cancer in older women.”

OK, just 13 causes of death to go! What time is it?

Let me quickly run the list. The top three killers used to be heart disease/cancer/stroke. Oh, that is so 2011. Now it’s heart disease, cancer and COPD—like emphysema. Thankfully, COPD can be prevented with the help of a plant-based diet, and even treated with plants if you want to check that out.

Of course, the tobacco industry viewed these landmark findings a little differently. Instead of adding plants to ones diet to prevent emphysema, wouldn’t it be simpler to just add them to the cigarettes? And voila, the addition of acai berries to cigarettes evidently had a protective effect against emphysema in smoking mice.

Next they’re going to be putting berries in meat. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Adding fruit extracts to burgers was not without its glitches, though. The blackberries “literally dyed burger patties with a distinct purplish color…” though infusing lamb carcasses with kiwifruit juice before rigor mortis sets in does evidently improve tenderness… and it is possible to improve the nutritional profile of frankurters with powdered grape seeds… though there were complaints that the grape seed particles were visible in the final product, and if there’s one thing we know about hot dog eaters, it’s that they’re picky about what goes in their food.

Pig anus? OK, but grape seeds? Ew!

Preventing strokes, killer #4, is all about eating potassium rich foods. Potassium, from the words pot ash. You take any plant, put it in a pot and reduce it to ash you’re left with pot-ash-ium—true story, but can anyone name me a plant food particularly high in potassium???

Why is that like the one thing everyone knows about nutrition? Did Chiquita have a good PR firm or something?

I bet you could walk into the Heart Attack Grill, where they’re eating things like this, and ask anyone, and they may be like “I don’t know what to should eat, but I do know bananas got potassium.”

In reality, bananas don’t even make the top 50 sources, coming in at #86, right behind fast food vanilla milk shakes.

Let’s see who can guess the food with the highest potassium. Let’s get everyone on their feet. Is the whole food with the highest potassium content a fruit, vegetable, grain, bean, or nut. Ok, root stem leaf or flower? What kind of green and then number to beet—I keep giving you hint)

The top five sources are tomato and orange concentrates, and then in terms of whole foods, greens, beans, and dates.

In fact if you look at the next leading cause of death, bananas, could be downright dangerous.

Alzheimer’s, now our sixth leading killer. We’ve known for nearly 20 years now, that those who eat meat—red or white—appear between 2 to 3 times more likely to become demented, compared to vegetarians. And the longer you’re vegetarian, the lower your risk of dementia.

But the exciting new research is on treating Alzheimer’s using natural plant remedies, which beat out placebo, and worked as well as a leading Alzheimer’s drug. Again, all on the website; all for free.

Next on the kick-the-bucket, list… diabetes, which can be prevented, treated, and even reversed in many cases—check out Brenda’s talk at 3 o’clock today. This is from October. Those eating vegetarian had significantly lower risk of diabetes, but vegans did the best. And ready for the shocker? This was after controlling for obesity. Sure vegans have less diabetes—they’re skinny, but even at the same weight, vegans had just a fraction of the diabetes risk.

Why are vegans, on average, so slim? Obesity is so rare among those eating plant-based diets, nutrition researchers have been desperate to uncover their secret. Yes, they tend to eat fewer calories… but not that many fewer. In the past I’ve gone through a couple of the theories that have emerged. Maybe it’s because people eating plant-strong diets express more of the fat shoveling enzyme inside the powerplants—the mitochondria–within their cells, maybe it’s because they grow different populations of good bacteria in their gut, Maybe it’s because they’re avoiding the obesogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals in meat? An obesity-causing virus in poultry may even be contributing. We’re still not sure, but the theories keep coming.

Here’s the latest: Maybe it’s the propionate. After all, what’s one of the things that’s only in plant foods, never in animal foods? Fiber. Animals have bones to hold them up, plants have fiber to hold them up.

I thought fiber was defined, though, by our inability to digest it. True, we can’t break down fiber, but the gazillions of good bacteria in our guts can. What do they make with it? Propionate, which gets absorbed into our blood stream. So technically we can digest fiber, but just not without a little help from our little friends.

 What does propionate do? Well it inhibits cholesterol synthesis. That’s nice. It also appears to have hypophagic effect, meaning it helps us eat less, apparently by slowing down the rate at which food empties from our stomachs, thereby making us feel fuller longer. “Propionate may either regulate food intake or the generation of new fat cells resulting in an overall anti-obesity effect.” And we can boost the numbers of good bacteria in our gut without probiotics just by eating vegetarian, because we’re feeding our little friends with fiber.

Animal foods also tend to be more calorically dense. For example, to walk off the calories found in single pat of butter you’d have to add an extra 700 yards to your evening stroll…. A quarter mile jog… for each sardine you put in your mouth—and that’s just the edible part. And any who choose to eat two chicken legs better get out on their own two legs and go run an extra 3 miles that day to outrun weight gain.

And that’s for steamed chicken… skin removed.

Here’s the latest: “Meat consumption and prospective weight change.” “Hundreds of thousands of men and women across 10 countries’’ with ‘‘weight gain measured over a 5 year period’’.

What did they find? “Total meat consumption was associated with weight gain.’’ Conclusion: Our results suggest that a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management. And this was after controlling for initial weight, physical activity, educational level, smoking status, total energy intake… Wait-a-second—what?! That’s the kicker.

The link between meat and weight gain remained even after controlling for calories, meaning if you have two people eating the same number of calories—the person eating meat may gain more weight. In fact they even calculated how much more.

An intake of 250 g meat/day—like a steak, would lead to an annual weight gain 422 g higher than the weight gain experienced with a same-calorie diet with lower meat content. After 5 y, the weight gain would be about 5 pounds more. Same calories, yet 5 pounds heavier eating meat. And steak was nothing. “The strongest relation with annual weight change—weight gain—was observed for poultry.”

Let’s say you start out normal weight and eat a hamburger every day. This is how much extra weight beyond what’s already in the calories you’d put on every year. What if instead you had the same amount of calories of processed meat, say a ham sandwich? You’d gain this much extra, whereas, just about a half a chicken breast puts you, up to here, above and beyond the calories.

“In conclusion, our results indicate that meat intake is associated with weight gain and this association persisted after adjustment for total energy intake. Our results are therefore in favor of the public health recommendation to decrease meat consumption for health improvement.”

For more, Make sure to catch the meat industry’s take on that study—very interesting, as well as PCRM’s amazing work putting a vegan diet to work in a corporate setting.

Kidney failure, 8th leading cause of death can be prevented with a plant-based diet; can be treated with a plant-based diet. Why?

Our kidneys are highly vascular organs. That’s why kidneys look so, red inside. Our two little kidneys filter through our entire blood supply. And so if the standard American diet is so toxic to blood vessels in our heart, brain, and pelvis, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and sexual dysfunction, what might it be doing to our kidneys?

Long story short, Harvard researchers found three significant risk factors for declining kidney function—meaning losing protein in your urine (your body’s not supposed to be peeing out it’s protein). The three risk factors were animal protein, animal fat, and cholesterol. No such association was found for plant protein or plant fat. It’s not protein; it’s not fat—it’s animal protein; animal fat.

Not only do vegans appear to have better kidney function, dramatic improvements were found treating kidney failure patients with pure vegetarian diets after only one week.

Leading killer number nine is people dying from respiratory infections Check out my video Kale and the Immune System, about the immunostimulatory effects of kale—is there anything kale can’t do?

And if you look at my video Boosting immunity through diet, which was actually the video-of-the-day on Wednesday of this week, you can see that even just eating a few extra fruits and vegetables can significantly improve one’s immune response to pneumococcal pneumonia.

Suicide, is number 10. Last year at Summerfest, I talked about improving mood through diet We knew vegetarian diets were associated with healthier mood states, but you can’t tell if it’s cause and effect until you put it to the test, which they did this year. You take regular meat-eaters, and remove meat, fish, poultry—and eggs, from their diets, and you can see a significant improvement in mood scores, after just two weeks—it can take drugs like Prozac months to take effect.

The way drugs like Prozac work is by elevating levels of serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone. Did you know there’s serotonin in plants? I certainly didn’t, but there’s serotonin, and dopamine and all sorts of human neurotransmitters in plants so much so there’s been a call to start treating depression with high-content sources of serotonin, you know, like plantains, pineapples, bananas, kiwis, plums, and tomatoes. And what’s the side effects, maybe you’ll get a little strawberry seed stick in your teeth or something?

Maybe that’s why a high intake of vegetables, fruit, mushrooms, and soy was associated with a decreased prevalence of depressive symptoms. Maybe that’s why improved behavior in teenagers was significantly associated with higher intakes of leafy green vegetables and fresh fruit.

For more, keep an eye out for my videos coming up on the wrong way to boost serotonin, which is taking tryptophan supplements. Better ways to boost serotonin, to fight disorders such as premenstrual depression, and the best way… as reported in this double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study of the successful use of butternut squash seeds, in the treatment of social anxiety disorder, for example.

How might a plant-based diet prevent systemic infections? Well, meat-borne bacteria can t directly invade one’s bloodstream through the intestinal wall, or in women creep up into their bladder.

Just last month, June 2012, direct DNA fingerprinting proof that women are getting urinary tract infections from eating meat contaminated with fecal bacteria, which then crawl up into your bladder. And chicken is the most likely reservoir.

Wait a second. You can’t sell unsafe cars, you can’t sell unsafe toys, how is it legal to sell unsafe meat?

They do it by blaming the consumer. As one USDA poultry microbiologist said: “Raw meats are not idiot-proof. They can be mishandled and when they are, it’s like handling a hand grenade. If you pull the pin, somebody’s going to get hurt.” See if we get sick, it’s our fault.

While some may question the wisdom of selling hand grenades in the supermarket, the USDA poultry expert disagrees: “I think the consumer has the most responsibility but refuses to accept it.” That’s like a car company saying yeah, we installed faulty brakes, but it’s your fault for not putting your kid in a seatbelt.

A director of at the Centers for Disease Control responded famously to this kind of blame-the-victim attitude. “Is it reasonable,” she asked, “that if a consumer undercooks a hamburger… their three-year-old dies?” Is that reasonable?

Not to worry, though: the meat industry’s on it. They just got the FDA approval for a bacteria-eating virus to spray on meat.

Now some have raised concerns about these so-called bacteriophages, such as the possibility of the viruses spreading toxin genes between bacteria, especially given the difficulties in preventing of large numbers of these viruses from being released into the environment from the slaughterhouses.

It could also allow the meat industry to become even more complacent about food safety if they know they can just spray some viruses on at the end, similar to the quick fix argument about irradiation. From the industry point of view, who cares if there’s fecal matter in the meat as long as it’s blasted at the end with enough radiation.

Now the meat industry’s concerned that consumer acceptance of bacteria-eating viruses may present something of a challenge. If they think that’s going to be a challenge, check out their other bright idea

The “Effect of Extracted Housefly Pupae on Chilled Pork Preservation.” A sciency way of saying they want smear a maggot mixture on meat.

It’s a low cost and simple method. Think about it. Maggots thrive on rotting meat, yet, there have been no reports that maggots have any serious diseases—not that anyone checked, but… indicating that they have a strong immune system. They must be packed with some sort of antibacterial properties—otherwise they’d get infected and die themselves.

So they took maggots who were 3 days old, washed them, dried them–toweled them off—put through them in tissue blender—a little vitamix action, and voila! Safer meat.

We did kidney failure, what about liver failure. We’ve known for 35 years–since 1977, that a vegetable-protein diet could be used to treat liver failure, significantly reducing the toxins that would otherwise have built up eating meat with a less-than-functional liver. Imagine eating meat without a fully functional liver to detoxify your blood.

I do have to admit, though, that some people live on plant-based diets have worsening liver function. They’re called, alcoholics…

In fact strictly plant-based living on potatoes, corn, grapes, barley—and yet still for some reason not doing so hot.

High blood pressure is next, so-called essential hypertension, essentially, only found in people that eat meat. Again, look at this—we’ve known for decades, that “consumption of food of animal origin was highly significantly associated with blood pressure”—even after “weight effects were removed.”

Fast-forward 39 years to 2012. Compared to non-vegetarians, as you go more and more plant-based—flexitarian, to just eating fish, to lacto-ovo to vegan you can see hypertension rates drop progressively down to a small fraction. Same thing with diabetes, a stepwise drop in risk as you lower animal product consumption. Same thing with body mass index, in fact vegans were the only dietary group that is on average not overweight—even the vegetarians were overweight.

Diabetes and hypertension are both leading causes of death. Is it going to take doctors another 39 years before we actually start doing something about it?

How long does it take being vegan, to bring blood pressures down? Twelve, days!

McDougall took 500 meat eaters, but them on a vegan diet, and over a span of 11 days dropped their blood pressures 6%, and up to twice that in those that came in hypertensive.

14th leading killer is Parkinson’s. Does a plant-based diet reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease? Good question. Well we know that every single prospective study on “dairy products or milk” and Parkinson’s disease found increased risk. Why?

Well, one possibility is that dairy products in the United States are contaminated with neurotoxic chemicals.

There’s substantial evidence “suggesting that exposure to pesticides may increase Parkinson’s disease risk,” and autopsies have found higher levels of pollutants and pesticides in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients […] and some of these toxins are present at low levels in dairy products.

They’re talking about toxins like tetrahydroisoquinoline, a parkinsonism-related compound found predominantly in cheese. Although the amounts of this neurotoxin—even in cheese—are really “not very high,” the concern is that the chemical may accumulate in the brain over long periods of consumption.

And finally, aspiration pneumonia, which is caused by swallowing problems due to Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s, or a stroke, all of which we’ve already covered.

So, where does this leave us? These are the top fifteen reasons Americans die, and a plant-based diet can help prevent, nearly all of them…, can help treat, more than half of them, and in some cases even reverse the progression of disease, including our top three killers.

There are drugs that can help too. You can take one drug to treat cholesterol every day for the rest of your life, another drug for blood sugars, a couple different pills for high blood pressure.

The same diet, though, does it all! It’s not like one diet for this; a different diet for that. One diet to rule them all.

And what about drug side effects? I’m not talking a little rash or something. Prescription drugs kill… more than a hundred thousand Americans every year. And that’s not medication errors, not abuse, not overdose; that’s just deaths from side effects, ADRs, adverse drug reactions to prescription drugs.

Wait a second, 100,000 deaths a year? That means, that the six leading cause of death—is actually doctors!

The sixth leading cause of death… is me!

Thankfully, I can be prevented, with a plant based diet …

Seriously, though. Seriously, compared to 15,000 American vegetarians, meat eaters had about twice the odds of being on aspirin, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antacids, pain-killers, blood pressure medications, laxatives and insulin. So plant-based diets are great for those that don’t like taking drugs, or paying for drugs, or risking adverse effects.

This study did show, though, that plant-based diets have their own side effects. Side effects include less chronic disease, fewer allergies, and fewer surgeries, vegetarians have less varicose veins to hemorrhoids—even fewer hysterectomies.

And not just protection from the big killers like coronary artery disease, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, but less diverticulosis, for example–significantly fewer diseases overall—that’s the side-effects of a plant-based diet. Less disease overall. Here’s the allergies thing.

According to the longest running study on vegetarians in history, compared to vegetarians, women who eat meat appear to have a 30% greater chance of reporting chemical allergies, 24% more asthma, more drug allergies and even bee-sting allergies, and 15% more hay fever

A new side effect of plant-based eating we just learned about last year— fewer cataracts. That’s what we get—fewer cataracts, the leading cause of blindness and vision loss. Compared to those just eating about a single serving of meat a day, cutting down to half a serving a day appears to cut risk 15%, just do fish you’re down 21%, no fish 30% drop in risk, and then no eggs and dairy for the full 40% drop in cataract risk.

And that’s all in addition to my favorite side effect of plant-based diets, helping to prevent 15 of our top 16 killers.

Want to solve the healthcare crisis? I have a suggestion.

Imagine, if our nation embraced a plant-based diet. Imagine if we just significantly cut back on meat. There is one country that tried.

After World War 2, Finland joined us in packing on the meat, eggs, and dairy. By the 1970’s, the mortality rate from heart disease of Finnish men was the highest in the world, even putting us to shame. They didn’t want to die, so they got serious. Heart disease is caused by high cholesterol, high cholesterol is caused by high saturated fat intake, so the main focus of the strategy was to reduce the high saturated fat intake in the country. So that means cheese and chicken, cake and pork. So, a berry project was launched to help dairy farmers make a switch to berry farming. Whatever it took. And indeed, many farmers did switch from dairies to berries. They pitted villages against each other in friendly cholesterol-lowering competitions to see who could do best.

So how’d they do? On a population scale, even if mortality rates drop 5% you could still save thousands of lives. But remarkably great changes took place…

An 80% drop in cardiac mortality across the entire country. “With greatly reduced cardiovascular and cancer mortality the all cause mortality has reduced about 45%, leading to greater life expectancy: approximately 7 years for men and 6 years for women.” And that was just cutting down on animal products.

Now vying for the world record for heart disease deaths, the United States of America.

So why doesn’t our government make those same recommendations? I’ve got a whole series of videos on the conflicts of interests within the U.S. dietary guideline committees. Whether being funded by candy bar companies, or the sugar association. Or a member of the “McDonald’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles,” or, serving on Coca cola’s beverage institute for health and wellness. Notice we only found out about this thanks to a lawsuit by PCRM suing USDA. One committee member, served as a Duncan Hines “brand girl” and then as the official Crisco brand girl.

These are the folks that dictate U.S. nutrition policy. If you read the official dietary guidelines committee recommendations you’ll note there’s “no discussion at all, of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. If the Committee actually discussed this research, it would be unable to justify its recommendation to eat meat at all, as the research would show that meat increases the risks of chronic diseases, contrary to the purposes of the Guidelines. Thus, by simply ignoring that research, the Committee is able to reach a conclusion that would otherwise look improper.” They can’t even talk about the science.

We know that “a plant-based diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and no meat reversed heart disease, completely prevented deaths from heart disease, and slowed the progression of cancer, and an almost identical diet is promoted by the World Cancer Research Fund to prevent cancer, as based on the largest review of scientific studies to date.” But again, they can’t even talk about the science because how could they justify anything but a plant-based diet?

Let me end, with what is probably the best summary of nutrition policy in the United States I’ve ever seen: “The new dietary guidelines have been released. They tell us to eat healthier… But… not so healthy as to noticeably affect any corporate profits. Thank you very much.

Don’t forget to check out my new video every day. Please share the site with friends and family. Buy them all DVDs. All proceeds to charity. And remember, please feel free to stop by for a free cholesterol check. See you, everybody. Bye.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by vetstud.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org.

Aaron Wissner of Local Future generously donated his time and energies to videotape this presentation.

In past years I’ve addressed the most pressing dietary issues of our time, like: What’s the healthiest variety of apple, the most nutritious nut, the best bean, the best berry, the best bowel movement!…

Who’s #1 at #2? Well, it wasn’t the new Yorkers—the most constipated population ever described in the medical literature, outputting an average of just 3 measly ounces a day…

Maybe if they’d just eat a big apple once and awhile…

But this year, I thought I’d lighten it up, and answer: What’s-the-best… way-to-prevent, death. Every year the CDC updates the leading causes of death in the United States. So, let’s just start at the top, and touch on what’s new in each category.

Heart disease, #1. The 35 year follow-up of the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study was just published now the most definitive long-term study ever on older women’s health. Since the study started, thousands of participants died, but that allowed them to determine the “risk factors for mortality.”

Because heart disease was the leading cause of death, it comes as no surprise that dietary cholesterol consumption was significant risk factor for dying. The second leading cause was smoking-related cancer deaths, but what’s so neat about this study is that it’s a competing risks analysis, so it allowed them to compare different risks to one another.

Consuming the amount of cholesterol found in just a single egg-a-day appears to cut a woman’s life short as much as smoking 5 cigarettes a day, for 15 years.

The most protective behavior they found was fiber consumption. Eating just a cup of oatmeal’s worth of fiber a day appears to extend a woman’s life as much as 4 hours of jogging a week, but of course there’s no reason you can’t do both.

It’s worth noting that the intake of cholesterol, only found in animal foods, was associated with living a shorter life and the intake of fiber, only found in plant foods, was associated with living a longer life.

The one specific food most tied to longevity was, nuts. You also appear to get 4 hours of weekly jogging benefit eating just two handfuls of nuts a week.

Yeah, heart disease, #1 cause of death, but what if your cholesterol’s normal? I hear that all the time, and have to break it to them that having a “normal” cholesterol in a society where it’s normal to… drop dead of a heart attack—is not necessarily a good thing. Remember, it’s our #1 killer.

In a huge study last year, most heart attack patients “fell within recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines may not be low enough to cut heart attack risk.” Close to half of heart attack victims had quote-unquote “optimal” cholesterol levels… though I’m not sure their grieving spouses and orphaned children will take much comfort in that fact. What is considered “optimal” is still too high.

Yeah, having a below average cholesterol reduces your risk, but, as the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology wrote more than a decade ago, it’s time to shift from just decreasing risk to actually preventing and arresting atherosclerosis. You don’t want low risk; you want no risk—how do you do it.

“For the build-up of plaque in our arteries to cease, it appears that the serum total cholesterol needs to be lowered to the 150 area. In other words the serum total cholesterol must be lowered to that of the average pure vegetarian. Because relatively few persons are willing to abide by the vegetarian lifestyle, lipid-lowering drugs are required in most to reach the 150 level. So it’s our choice.

Now notice though, even though the average vegan has a cholesterol of 150, it doesn’t mean that all vegans have 150. That’s why I do free cholesterol screenings here at Summerfest. Stop by my table. A little drop of blood. Just will take a couple of minutes. I’ll be happy to do that for you.

So it’s our choice—diet or drugs. Why not just choose the drugs? The FDA just announced newly-mandated safety labeling for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs like Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor, Zocor, and Vytorin, etc. The FDA issued new side-effect warnings regarding the increased risk of brain related side effects such as memory loss and confusion, an increase in blood sugar levels and risk of new-onset diabetes.

One prominent cardiologist described the Faustian bargain: fewer heart attacks, but more diabetes. And, we learned just a few weeks ago “adverse effects of statins on energy levels and fatigue even at moderate doses, particularly for women.

With all the memory loss and confusion caused by these drugs, folks may forget there’s actually way to lower the risk of heart attacks and diabetes at the same time, a plant-based diet.

Now cholesterol is just half of the heart disease story. The other half is inflammation. We’ve known for 15 years, that a single meal high in animal fat— sausage and egg McMuffins were used in the original study— can paralyze our arteries, cutting their ability to relax normally in half within just hours of eating animal products. The lining of our entire vascular tree gets inflamed and stiffened. And just as the inflammatory crippled state starts to calm down 5 or 6 hours later—lunchtime! We may then whack our arteries with another load of meat, eggs, or dairy for lunch, such that most people are stuck in this chronic low-grade inflammation danger zone, which may set them up for inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer one meal at a time.

Does the same thing to our lungs–again, within hours. Inflammation in our airways. A single meal causing internal damage not just decades down the road but right then and there, that day, within hours of it going in your mouth.

And just this year, we may have finally solved the mystery as to why. It doesn’t appear to be the animal fat itself. And it’s apparently not the animal protein, (which is what we see triggering inflammation in arthritis). So if it’s not the animal fat, and it’s not the animal protein, what is it?

The whole thing is a crazy cool detective story that I’ll be putting up in a series of videos next week actually, but I’ll just cut to the chase—spoiler alert! After a meal of animal products, people suffer from endotoxemia, their bloodstream becomes awash with bacterial toxins, known as endotoxins, that are present in animal products. So no wonder our body goes crazy.

These dead meat bacteria toxins aren’t destroyed by stomach acid… aren’t destroyed by digestive enzymes, aren’t destroyed by cooking—they tried boiling meat for hours. “These bacterial endotoxins were found to be highly resistant to cooking and our bodies’ best attempts at acid and enzyme digestion.”

And then the animal fat actually does play a profound role, ferrying the bacterial toxins present in the meat through the gut wall into our system.

So the reason animal products trigger immediate inflammation appears to be because they’re so loaded with bacteria that can trigger inflammation dead or alive even when they’re fully cooked, and saturated animal fat then boosts the absorption of the bacterial toxins into our bloodstream.

So now that we know what’s going on, what do we need to do? From a 2012 follow-up: “While the most obvious solution to this metabolic endotoxemia appears to be to reduce saturated fat intake” (which in this country comes mostly from cheese and chicken), but, they say, “the Western diet is not conducive to this mode of action; it’s difficult for patients to comply with this request.” So what? Let’s not even tell them?

This patronizing attitude in the medical profession that “oh, patients won’t improve their diets, or stop smoking—even if it’s going to save their lives, so why bother?” That attitude may be one of the true leading causes of death.

But let’s get back to the official list, and take on Cancer next. What’s the latest?

We know from the largest forward-looking study on diet and cancer ever, that “the incidence of all cancers combined is lower among vegetarians,” especially some of the fastest growing tumors, lymphomas and leukemias. And for that the worst meat was actually chicken….

Up to triple the rates for every 50 grams of daily poultry consumption. That’s just a quarter of a chicken breast may triple your risk.

Normally this entire presentation would be in kind of a quiz show format, but there was a scheduling mix-up. I was supposed to be the last speaker of the night, at night, and so I could go long and not interfere with the schedule. But, anyway, it won’t happen again, and so next year be back to the quiz show format. And I apologize. I had to cut this short.

The link between meat and cancer is such that even the journal Meat Science asked last year “Should we become vegetarians, or… can we make meat safer. There’s a bunch of additives, for example, that “can suppress the toxic effects of heme iron,” the blood iron that’s found in meat. These additives are still under study, but “could provide an acceptable way to prevent colon cancer,” because evidently avoiding meat is just out of the question.

 They fear that if the National Cancer Institute recommendations to reduce meat consumption “were adhered to, sure, cancer incidence may be reduced, but famers and the meat industry would suffer important economical problems…”

For those of us more concerned about the suffering caused the meat industry, than the suffering of the meat industry, what happens if you put cancer on a vegan diet? The Pritikin Research Foundation just completed an elegant series of experiments that I want to spend a bit of time on them. Simple experiments. They put people on different diets, drew their blood and dripped their blood on cancer cells growing in a petri dish and just stood back to see whose blood was better at suppressing cancer growth.

They were the ones that published that study showing the blood of those on a vegan diet was dramatically less hospitable to cancer. Even the blood of those on a standard American diet fights cancer; if it didn’t everyone would be dead. It’s just that the blood of those eating vegan fights about 8 times better.

The blood of those on the standard American diet slows cancer growth rate down about 9%. Put people on a plant-based diet for a year, though, and their blood just tears it up. The blood circulating within the bodies of vegans has nearly 8 times the stopping power when it comes to cancer cell growth.

Now this was for prostate cancer, the most common cancer of men, In women, it’s breast cancer, so the Pritikin researchers tried duplicating the study with women using breast cancer cells instead. They didn’t want to wait a whole year to get the results, though. So they figured they’d see what a plant-based diet could do in just two weeks, against three different types of human breast cancer.

This is the before, cancer growth powering away at 100%. And then after, eating a plant-based diet for 14 days.

The same blood that was now coursing through these women’s bodies gained the power to significantly slow down, and stop breast cancer cell growth thanks to just two weeks of eating a plant-based diet.

What kind of blood do we want in our body, what kind of immune system? Do we want blood that just kind of rolls over when cancer cells pop up, or do we want blood circulating to every nook and cranny of our body that has the power to slow down and stop them?

Now this strengthening of cancer defenses was after 14 days of a plant-based diet and exercise, they were out walking 30 to 60 minutes a day. Maybe the only reason their blood started becoming so effective at suppressing cancer growth was because of the exercise—maybe the diet had nothing to do with it. So they put it do the test.

This is measuring cancer cell clearance. This is what we saw before, the effect of blood taken from those who ate a plant-based diet, in this case for 14 years and along with mild exercise—like just walking every day. Plant-based diet and walking—that’s the kind of cancer cell clearance you get. Compared to the cancer stopping power of your average sedentary meat-eater, which is basically nonexistent.

This middle group, instead of 14 years on a plant-based diet, ate 14 years of a standard American diet but had 14 years of daily strenuous, hour-long exercise, like calisthenics. The researchers wanted to know if you exercise hard enough, long enough, can you rival some strolling plant-eaters.

And… exercise helped—no question, but literally 5,000 hours in the gym, was no match for a plant-based diet.

Here’s an actual photomicrograph of cancer cells stained so that they’d release light when they die. As you can see in the control group, there were a few cancer cells dying. Even if you are a couch potato eating fried potatoes, your body’s not totally defenseless. But here’s the hard-core strenuous exercise group. Cancer cells dying left and right. But nothing appears to kick cancer butt more than a plant based diet. 

Why, though? Some people don’t care why, but I’m always curious. How does a simple dietary change make one’s bloodstream so inhospitable to cancer in just a matter of days? We didn’t know until last year, when “[they] sought to determine the underlying mechanisms for these anticancer effects.”

It’s a wild story I have a whole series of videos coming out about. It in involves little people, big people; It involves big dogs and… little dogs, the story involves marshmallows… tinkertoys… cannibalism, and vegan bodybuilders, from beef steak to beefcake—I wish I had time—but the videos will be up soon. Bottom line—the answer to the Pritikin puzzle is IGF-1.

Insulin-like Growth Factor One is a cancer-promoting growth hormone involved in every stage of cancer growth, proliferation, metastasis, and invasion. But you put people on a plant-based diet and their IGF-1 levels go down, and if they stay on a plant-based diet their levels drop even further.

And their IGF-1 binding protein levels go up. That’s one way our body tries to protect itself from cancer—from excessive growth—by releasing a binding protein into our bloodstream to tie up IGF-1. It’s like our body’s emergency brake. Yes, in as little as 11 days, a plant-based diet can reprogram your body to bring down IGF-1 production, but you still have all that IGF-1 circulating in your bloodstream from the bacon and eggs you had the week before. So, your liver releases a snatch squad of binding proteins to take it out of circulation, and as you can see it just gets better and better the longer you eat healthy.

Here’s the experiment that nailed IGF-1 as the villain. Same as last time. Go on a plant-based diet; Cancer cell growth drops; and cancer cell death, shoots up. But then here’s the kicker. What if you added back to the cancer the exact same amount of IGF-1 banished from your body because you were eating healthy? … It erases the diet and exercise effect. It’s like you never started eating healthy at all.

So that’s how we know that lowering animal product consumption leads to lower IGF-1, which leads to lower cancer growth. But how low does animal-product-consumption have to go? How plant-based does our diet need to get? Well, let’s look at IGF1 levels in meat eaters, versus vegetarians, versus vegans. Does a plant-based diet work better at lower the circulating level of IGF-1 compared with a meat-eating or lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, and this is what they found. Only the vegans had significantly lower levels. And the same relationship found with IGF-binding capacity. Only the vegans were significantly able to bind up excess IGF-1 in their blood streams.

This was a study done on women…, what about vegan men? They found the same thing… So even though vegan men tend to have significantly higher testosterone levels, than both vegetarians and meat eaters—which can be a risk factor for prostate cancer, the reason plant-based diets appear to reverse the progression of prostate cancer, may be due to how low their IGF-1 drops. High testosterone, yet low cancer.

The bottom line… is that male or female, just eating vegetarian did not seem to cut it—didn’t do their body many favors. It looks like to get a significant drop in cancer-promoting growth hormone levels one really has to move towards eliminating animal products altogether. The good news is that given what we now know about IGF-1, we can predict, “that a… vegan diet may be profoundly protective with respect to, for example, risk for breast cancer in older women.”

OK, just 13 causes of death to go! What time is it?

Let me quickly run the list. The top three killers used to be heart disease/cancer/stroke. Oh, that is so 2011. Now it’s heart disease, cancer and COPD—like emphysema. Thankfully, COPD can be prevented with the help of a plant-based diet, and even treated with plants if you want to check that out.

Of course, the tobacco industry viewed these landmark findings a little differently. Instead of adding plants to ones diet to prevent emphysema, wouldn’t it be simpler to just add them to the cigarettes? And voila, the addition of acai berries to cigarettes evidently had a protective effect against emphysema in smoking mice.

Next they’re going to be putting berries in meat. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Adding fruit extracts to burgers was not without its glitches, though. The blackberries “literally dyed burger patties with a distinct purplish color…” though infusing lamb carcasses with kiwifruit juice before rigor mortis sets in does evidently improve tenderness… and it is possible to improve the nutritional profile of frankurters with powdered grape seeds… though there were complaints that the grape seed particles were visible in the final product, and if there’s one thing we know about hot dog eaters, it’s that they’re picky about what goes in their food.

Pig anus? OK, but grape seeds? Ew!

Preventing strokes, killer #4, is all about eating potassium rich foods. Potassium, from the words pot ash. You take any plant, put it in a pot and reduce it to ash you’re left with pot-ash-ium—true story, but can anyone name me a plant food particularly high in potassium???

Why is that like the one thing everyone knows about nutrition? Did Chiquita have a good PR firm or something?

I bet you could walk into the Heart Attack Grill, where they’re eating things like this, and ask anyone, and they may be like “I don’t know what to should eat, but I do know bananas got potassium.”

In reality, bananas don’t even make the top 50 sources, coming in at #86, right behind fast food vanilla milk shakes.

Let’s see who can guess the food with the highest potassium. Let’s get everyone on their feet. Is the whole food with the highest potassium content a fruit, vegetable, grain, bean, or nut. Ok, root stem leaf or flower? What kind of green and then number to beet—I keep giving you hint)

The top five sources are tomato and orange concentrates, and then in terms of whole foods, greens, beans, and dates.

In fact if you look at the next leading cause of death, bananas, could be downright dangerous.

Alzheimer’s, now our sixth leading killer. We’ve known for nearly 20 years now, that those who eat meat—red or white—appear between 2 to 3 times more likely to become demented, compared to vegetarians. And the longer you’re vegetarian, the lower your risk of dementia.

But the exciting new research is on treating Alzheimer’s using natural plant remedies, which beat out placebo, and worked as well as a leading Alzheimer’s drug. Again, all on the website; all for free.

Next on the kick-the-bucket, list… diabetes, which can be prevented, treated, and even reversed in many cases—check out Brenda’s talk at 3 o’clock today. This is from October. Those eating vegetarian had significantly lower risk of diabetes, but vegans did the best. And ready for the shocker? This was after controlling for obesity. Sure vegans have less diabetes—they’re skinny, but even at the same weight, vegans had just a fraction of the diabetes risk.

Why are vegans, on average, so slim? Obesity is so rare among those eating plant-based diets, nutrition researchers have been desperate to uncover their secret. Yes, they tend to eat fewer calories… but not that many fewer. In the past I’ve gone through a couple of the theories that have emerged. Maybe it’s because people eating plant-strong diets express more of the fat shoveling enzyme inside the powerplants—the mitochondria–within their cells, maybe it’s because they grow different populations of good bacteria in their gut, Maybe it’s because they’re avoiding the obesogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals in meat? An obesity-causing virus in poultry may even be contributing. We’re still not sure, but the theories keep coming.

Here’s the latest: Maybe it’s the propionate. After all, what’s one of the things that’s only in plant foods, never in animal foods? Fiber. Animals have bones to hold them up, plants have fiber to hold them up.

I thought fiber was defined, though, by our inability to digest it. True, we can’t break down fiber, but the gazillions of good bacteria in our guts can. What do they make with it? Propionate, which gets absorbed into our blood stream. So technically we can digest fiber, but just not without a little help from our little friends.

 What does propionate do? Well it inhibits cholesterol synthesis. That’s nice. It also appears to have hypophagic effect, meaning it helps us eat less, apparently by slowing down the rate at which food empties from our stomachs, thereby making us feel fuller longer. “Propionate may either regulate food intake or the generation of new fat cells resulting in an overall anti-obesity effect.” And we can boost the numbers of good bacteria in our gut without probiotics just by eating vegetarian, because we’re feeding our little friends with fiber.

Animal foods also tend to be more calorically dense. For example, to walk off the calories found in single pat of butter you’d have to add an extra 700 yards to your evening stroll…. A quarter mile jog… for each sardine you put in your mouth—and that’s just the edible part. And any who choose to eat two chicken legs better get out on their own two legs and go run an extra 3 miles that day to outrun weight gain.

And that’s for steamed chicken… skin removed.

Here’s the latest: “Meat consumption and prospective weight change.” “Hundreds of thousands of men and women across 10 countries’’ with ‘‘weight gain measured over a 5 year period’’.

What did they find? “Total meat consumption was associated with weight gain.’’ Conclusion: Our results suggest that a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management. And this was after controlling for initial weight, physical activity, educational level, smoking status, total energy intake… Wait-a-second—what?! That’s the kicker.

The link between meat and weight gain remained even after controlling for calories, meaning if you have two people eating the same number of calories—the person eating meat may gain more weight. In fact they even calculated how much more.

An intake of 250 g meat/day—like a steak, would lead to an annual weight gain 422 g higher than the weight gain experienced with a same-calorie diet with lower meat content. After 5 y, the weight gain would be about 5 pounds more. Same calories, yet 5 pounds heavier eating meat. And steak was nothing. “The strongest relation with annual weight change—weight gain—was observed for poultry.”

Let’s say you start out normal weight and eat a hamburger every day. This is how much extra weight beyond what’s already in the calories you’d put on every year. What if instead you had the same amount of calories of processed meat, say a ham sandwich? You’d gain this much extra, whereas, just about a half a chicken breast puts you, up to here, above and beyond the calories.

“In conclusion, our results indicate that meat intake is associated with weight gain and this association persisted after adjustment for total energy intake. Our results are therefore in favor of the public health recommendation to decrease meat consumption for health improvement.”

For more, Make sure to catch the meat industry’s take on that study—very interesting, as well as PCRM’s amazing work putting a vegan diet to work in a corporate setting.

Kidney failure, 8th leading cause of death can be prevented with a plant-based diet; can be treated with a plant-based diet. Why?

Our kidneys are highly vascular organs. That’s why kidneys look so, red inside. Our two little kidneys filter through our entire blood supply. And so if the standard American diet is so toxic to blood vessels in our heart, brain, and pelvis, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and sexual dysfunction, what might it be doing to our kidneys?

Long story short, Harvard researchers found three significant risk factors for declining kidney function—meaning losing protein in your urine (your body’s not supposed to be peeing out it’s protein). The three risk factors were animal protein, animal fat, and cholesterol. No such association was found for plant protein or plant fat. It’s not protein; it’s not fat—it’s animal protein; animal fat.

Not only do vegans appear to have better kidney function, dramatic improvements were found treating kidney failure patients with pure vegetarian diets after only one week.

Leading killer number nine is people dying from respiratory infections Check out my video Kale and the Immune System, about the immunostimulatory effects of kale—is there anything kale can’t do?

And if you look at my video Boosting immunity through diet, which was actually the video-of-the-day on Wednesday of this week, you can see that even just eating a few extra fruits and vegetables can significantly improve one’s immune response to pneumococcal pneumonia.

Suicide, is number 10. Last year at Summerfest, I talked about improving mood through diet We knew vegetarian diets were associated with healthier mood states, but you can’t tell if it’s cause and effect until you put it to the test, which they did this year. You take regular meat-eaters, and remove meat, fish, poultry—and eggs, from their diets, and you can see a significant improvement in mood scores, after just two weeks—it can take drugs like Prozac months to take effect.

The way drugs like Prozac work is by elevating levels of serotonin, the so-called happiness hormone. Did you know there’s serotonin in plants? I certainly didn’t, but there’s serotonin, and dopamine and all sorts of human neurotransmitters in plants so much so there’s been a call to start treating depression with high-content sources of serotonin, you know, like plantains, pineapples, bananas, kiwis, plums, and tomatoes. And what’s the side effects, maybe you’ll get a little strawberry seed stick in your teeth or something?

Maybe that’s why a high intake of vegetables, fruit, mushrooms, and soy was associated with a decreased prevalence of depressive symptoms. Maybe that’s why improved behavior in teenagers was significantly associated with higher intakes of leafy green vegetables and fresh fruit.

For more, keep an eye out for my videos coming up on the wrong way to boost serotonin, which is taking tryptophan supplements. Better ways to boost serotonin, to fight disorders such as premenstrual depression, and the best way… as reported in this double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study of the successful use of butternut squash seeds, in the treatment of social anxiety disorder, for example.

How might a plant-based diet prevent systemic infections? Well, meat-borne bacteria can t directly invade one’s bloodstream through the intestinal wall, or in women creep up into their bladder.

Just last month, June 2012, direct DNA fingerprinting proof that women are getting urinary tract infections from eating meat contaminated with fecal bacteria, which then crawl up into your bladder. And chicken is the most likely reservoir.

Wait a second. You can’t sell unsafe cars, you can’t sell unsafe toys, how is it legal to sell unsafe meat?

They do it by blaming the consumer. As one USDA poultry microbiologist said: “Raw meats are not idiot-proof. They can be mishandled and when they are, it’s like handling a hand grenade. If you pull the pin, somebody’s going to get hurt.” See if we get sick, it’s our fault.

While some may question the wisdom of selling hand grenades in the supermarket, the USDA poultry expert disagrees: “I think the consumer has the most responsibility but refuses to accept it.” That’s like a car company saying yeah, we installed faulty brakes, but it’s your fault for not putting your kid in a seatbelt.

A director of at the Centers for Disease Control responded famously to this kind of blame-the-victim attitude. “Is it reasonable,” she asked, “that if a consumer undercooks a hamburger… their three-year-old dies?” Is that reasonable?

Not to worry, though: the meat industry’s on it. They just got the FDA approval for a bacteria-eating virus to spray on meat.

Now some have raised concerns about these so-called bacteriophages, such as the possibility of the viruses spreading toxin genes between bacteria, especially given the difficulties in preventing of large numbers of these viruses from being released into the environment from the slaughterhouses.

It could also allow the meat industry to become even more complacent about food safety if they know they can just spray some viruses on at the end, similar to the quick fix argument about irradiation. From the industry point of view, who cares if there’s fecal matter in the meat as long as it’s blasted at the end with enough radiation.

Now the meat industry’s concerned that consumer acceptance of bacteria-eating viruses may present something of a challenge. If they think that’s going to be a challenge, check out their other bright idea

The “Effect of Extracted Housefly Pupae on Chilled Pork Preservation.” A sciency way of saying they want smear a maggot mixture on meat.

It’s a low cost and simple method. Think about it. Maggots thrive on rotting meat, yet, there have been no reports that maggots have any serious diseases—not that anyone checked, but… indicating that they have a strong immune system. They must be packed with some sort of antibacterial properties—otherwise they’d get infected and die themselves.

So they took maggots who were 3 days old, washed them, dried them–toweled them off—put through them in tissue blender—a little vitamix action, and voila! Safer meat.

We did kidney failure, what about liver failure. We’ve known for 35 years–since 1977, that a vegetable-protein diet could be used to treat liver failure, significantly reducing the toxins that would otherwise have built up eating meat with a less-than-functional liver. Imagine eating meat without a fully functional liver to detoxify your blood.

I do have to admit, though, that some people live on plant-based diets have worsening liver function. They’re called, alcoholics…

In fact strictly plant-based living on potatoes, corn, grapes, barley—and yet still for some reason not doing so hot.

High blood pressure is next, so-called essential hypertension, essentially, only found in people that eat meat. Again, look at this—we’ve known for decades, that “consumption of food of animal origin was highly significantly associated with blood pressure”—even after “weight effects were removed.”

Fast-forward 39 years to 2012. Compared to non-vegetarians, as you go more and more plant-based—flexitarian, to just eating fish, to lacto-ovo to vegan you can see hypertension rates drop progressively down to a small fraction. Same thing with diabetes, a stepwise drop in risk as you lower animal product consumption. Same thing with body mass index, in fact vegans were the only dietary group that is on average not overweight—even the vegetarians were overweight.

Diabetes and hypertension are both leading causes of death. Is it going to take doctors another 39 years before we actually start doing something about it?

How long does it take being vegan, to bring blood pressures down? Twelve, days!

McDougall took 500 meat eaters, but them on a vegan diet, and over a span of 11 days dropped their blood pressures 6%, and up to twice that in those that came in hypertensive.

14th leading killer is Parkinson’s. Does a plant-based diet reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease? Good question. Well we know that every single prospective study on “dairy products or milk” and Parkinson’s disease found increased risk. Why?

Well, one possibility is that dairy products in the United States are contaminated with neurotoxic chemicals.

There’s substantial evidence “suggesting that exposure to pesticides may increase Parkinson’s disease risk,” and autopsies have found higher levels of pollutants and pesticides in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients […] and some of these toxins are present at low levels in dairy products.

They’re talking about toxins like tetrahydroisoquinoline, a parkinsonism-related compound found predominantly in cheese. Although the amounts of this neurotoxin—even in cheese—are really “not very high,” the concern is that the chemical may accumulate in the brain over long periods of consumption.

And finally, aspiration pneumonia, which is caused by swallowing problems due to Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s, or a stroke, all of which we’ve already covered.

So, where does this leave us? These are the top fifteen reasons Americans die, and a plant-based diet can help prevent, nearly all of them…, can help treat, more than half of them, and in some cases even reverse the progression of disease, including our top three killers.

There are drugs that can help too. You can take one drug to treat cholesterol every day for the rest of your life, another drug for blood sugars, a couple different pills for high blood pressure.

The same diet, though, does it all! It’s not like one diet for this; a different diet for that. One diet to rule them all.

And what about drug side effects? I’m not talking a little rash or something. Prescription drugs kill… more than a hundred thousand Americans every year. And that’s not medication errors, not abuse, not overdose; that’s just deaths from side effects, ADRs, adverse drug reactions to prescription drugs.

Wait a second, 100,000 deaths a year? That means, that the six leading cause of death—is actually doctors!

The sixth leading cause of death… is me!

Thankfully, I can be prevented, with a plant based diet …

Seriously, though. Seriously, compared to 15,000 American vegetarians, meat eaters had about twice the odds of being on aspirin, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antacids, pain-killers, blood pressure medications, laxatives and insulin. So plant-based diets are great for those that don’t like taking drugs, or paying for drugs, or risking adverse effects.

This study did show, though, that plant-based diets have their own side effects. Side effects include less chronic disease, fewer allergies, and fewer surgeries, vegetarians have less varicose veins to hemorrhoids—even fewer hysterectomies.

And not just protection from the big killers like coronary artery disease, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, but less diverticulosis, for example–significantly fewer diseases overall—that’s the side-effects of a plant-based diet. Less disease overall. Here’s the allergies thing.

According to the longest running study on vegetarians in history, compared to vegetarians, women who eat meat appear to have a 30% greater chance of reporting chemical allergies, 24% more asthma, more drug allergies and even bee-sting allergies, and 15% more hay fever

A new side effect of plant-based eating we just learned about last year— fewer cataracts. That’s what we get—fewer cataracts, the leading cause of blindness and vision loss. Compared to those just eating about a single serving of meat a day, cutting down to half a serving a day appears to cut risk 15%, just do fish you’re down 21%, no fish 30% drop in risk, and then no eggs and dairy for the full 40% drop in cataract risk.

And that’s all in addition to my favorite side effect of plant-based diets, helping to prevent 15 of our top 16 killers.

Want to solve the healthcare crisis? I have a suggestion.

Imagine, if our nation embraced a plant-based diet. Imagine if we just significantly cut back on meat. There is one country that tried.

After World War 2, Finland joined us in packing on the meat, eggs, and dairy. By the 1970’s, the mortality rate from heart disease of Finnish men was the highest in the world, even putting us to shame. They didn’t want to die, so they got serious. Heart disease is caused by high cholesterol, high cholesterol is caused by high saturated fat intake, so the main focus of the strategy was to reduce the high saturated fat intake in the country. So that means cheese and chicken, cake and pork. So, a berry project was launched to help dairy farmers make a switch to berry farming. Whatever it took. And indeed, many farmers did switch from dairies to berries. They pitted villages against each other in friendly cholesterol-lowering competitions to see who could do best.

So how’d they do? On a population scale, even if mortality rates drop 5% you could still save thousands of lives. But remarkably great changes took place…

An 80% drop in cardiac mortality across the entire country. “With greatly reduced cardiovascular and cancer mortality the all cause mortality has reduced about 45%, leading to greater life expectancy: approximately 7 years for men and 6 years for women.” And that was just cutting down on animal products.

Now vying for the world record for heart disease deaths, the United States of America.

So why doesn’t our government make those same recommendations? I’ve got a whole series of videos on the conflicts of interests within the U.S. dietary guideline committees. Whether being funded by candy bar companies, or the sugar association. Or a member of the “McDonald’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles,” or, serving on Coca cola’s beverage institute for health and wellness. Notice we only found out about this thanks to a lawsuit by PCRM suing USDA. One committee member, served as a Duncan Hines “brand girl” and then as the official Crisco brand girl.

These are the folks that dictate U.S. nutrition policy. If you read the official dietary guidelines committee recommendations you’ll note there’s “no discussion at all, of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. If the Committee actually discussed this research, it would be unable to justify its recommendation to eat meat at all, as the research would show that meat increases the risks of chronic diseases, contrary to the purposes of the Guidelines. Thus, by simply ignoring that research, the Committee is able to reach a conclusion that would otherwise look improper.” They can’t even talk about the science.

We know that “a plant-based diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and no meat reversed heart disease, completely prevented deaths from heart disease, and slowed the progression of cancer, and an almost identical diet is promoted by the World Cancer Research Fund to prevent cancer, as based on the largest review of scientific studies to date.” But again, they can’t even talk about the science because how could they justify anything but a plant-based diet?

Let me end, with what is probably the best summary of nutrition policy in the United States I’ve ever seen: “The new dietary guidelines have been released. They tell us to eat healthier… But… not so healthy as to noticeably affect any corporate profits. Thank you very much.

Don’t forget to check out my new video every day. Please share the site with friends and family. Buy them all DVDs. All proceeds to charity. And remember, please feel free to stop by for a free cholesterol check. See you, everybody. Bye.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by vetstud.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org.

Aaron Wissner of Local Future generously donated his time and energies to videotape this presentation.

Doctor's Note

Today’s video-of-the-day is a NutritionFacts.org first. Though I don’t always succeed, I normally strive to make each of my videos about two minutes in length to match the typical online attention span. That’s why when this presentation was serendipitously taped last month, I turned it into a short DVD rather than uploading it directly to the site. But the response it got was so positive, that I really wanted to get it online. If you too found it valuable, please share it and pass it along. And if you haven’t already, you can subscribe for free to my videos at http://bit.ly/nutritionfactsup…. Tomorrow we’ll return to our regularly scheduled program of more bite-sized servings of the latest in nutritional science.

The DVD of this presentation can be ordered on my website or through Amazon (all proceeds to charity).

588 responses to “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death

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  1. Today’s video-of-the-day is a NutritionFacts.org first. Though I don’t always succeed, I normally strive to make each of my videos about two minutes in length to match the typical online attention span. That’s why when this presentation was serendipitously taped last month, I turned it into a short DVD rather than uploading it directly to the site. But the response it got was so positive, that I really wanted to get it online. If you too found it valuable, please share it and pass it along. And if you haven’t already, you can subscribe for free to my videos at http://bit.ly/nutritionfactsupdates. Tomorrow we’ll return to our regularly scheduled program of more bite-sized servings of the latest in nutritional science.




    10
    1. Phenomenal!  Like a said before this video should be required viewing in all medical, dental, nursing, and paramedical schools as well as by the general public before ever stepping foot inside a restaurant or market.

      Absolutely incredible that you made this free!!!  Thank you! ;-}




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      1. Goverment usually would not like to spread out astonishing things, I guess.
        People like consistence, a kind of habit, no matter very bad, people tend to find the reasons to keep it, while resist the changing.
        The root reason is that going upstream to build a good habit needs energy. 




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      2. I know it’s hard to do so, but it is possible to open a vegan hospital -our own realm.
        If that happens, please employ me!
        I am a MPT student in Canada and Taichi coach.
        I led vegan diet workshops in a senior center in Toronto, 2010




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        1. If that ever happens I will be giving you a call!  But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.  The Seventh Day adventists already do a modified Vegan version of this type. 




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          1. Doctor, could you please tell me which hospitals of adventists in Canada or US still practice vegan diet?
            How I can contact with you except on this website?




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          2. Adventist hospitals , of which there are many, seem to be very normal in their medical practice, I thought. Do they, perhaps, cater better than other hospitals with food. Are there any in the United Kingdom? If so, I’ll be interested to explore further.




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    2. Thank you again for your work. I just pre-ordered the set along with those extra DVDs (cancer prevention, bird flu, etc). Can’t wait for them.

      I shared this link with my mom and she’s now sharing it with others. :)




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      1. How exactly is a plant-based diet a “scam”? I don’t think name-calling and insults are going to win the primal movement any converts.  You may want to try another outreach/recruitment approach to convince people of the merits of primal eating. 

        If the goal is preventing and treating disease by way of diet, it seems clear from the currently available scientific evidence that some diets are better at preventing and treating disease than others.  It just so happens that “the balance of scientific evidence suggests that the healthiest way to eat [to prevent and treat disease] is a vitamin B12-fortified diet of whole plant foods”. At the moment, it seems that there is not enough evidence (and definitely not a balance of evidence) to indicate that other diets are capable of preventing and treating disease to the same degree that a plant-based diet can for most people. 
        Moreover, I think it is also debatable whether a meat-based primal/paleo/caveman/low-carb diet is a sensible and healthy way to eat for the planet–but that is discussion for another forum. But since you brought it up, you may want to read these:http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2011/10/27/141666659/the-paleo-diet-not-the-way-to-a-healthy-futurehttp://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/07/the-paleo-diet-caveman-cure-all-or-unhealthy-fad/242621/#http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2012nl/jun/paleo2.htm

        In sum, whether you look at it from a health, environment, or human rights perspective a vegetarian diet is most certainly the best choice for human health, the sustainability of the environment, and the best (maybe even only way) that shows compassion toward both humans and other animals.




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        1. Nothing wrong with meat in the diet as long as it is organically raised, non-GMO feeds (grain and corn is not natural food for any herbivore animal) as they are raised organically without antibiotics/growth hormones away from factory farms.

          No need to insult each other’s diet/way of life. No one eats solely meat, people add veggies as well, etc., unless following the traditional Inuit diet which is raw meat or a few other tribal diets. To each their own. Sadly, with the Monsanto T-rex on the rampage, cross-contaminating organic fields with its seeds of destruction I worry that in 50 years there will be no natural plant life out there. Then we are all up the creek including wildlife. Well, there are always milkweed pods if Monsanto doesn’t kill those off. These actually taste good when foraging in the wild but will taste like cardboard if altered genetically by Monsanto. Some are people are vegetarians but if they eat pesticide treated foods instead of organic, there are problems…purchasing dirty dozen celery in grocery stores laden with pesticides…not to mention the whole processed ‘food’ industry.

          There is no such way as “The Only Way’ since people have to find out what works for them and accept that not everyone is going to follow the same path.




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          1. There is a tremendous body of evidence to discourage one from eating animal products. Whether you’re sold on the idea from the compelling and still-growing consensus regarding your health, the undeniable impact such activities have on our environment, or the well being or misery of so many animals, I couldn’t imagine anything easier to argue and advocate for.
            World Watch’s coverage of “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” regarding the impossible environmental reality of raising meat on the scale we do, “Earthlings” for a visceral look at the ethical realities, and the work of Dr. Greger, Neal Barnard, T. Colin Campbell, etc. for the preventive health impacts.
            I hope we can all see more improvement in the near future on these fronts. It’s going to take everyone’s humble and worthwhile efforts, though. :)




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            1. Same can be said for farming . Its an irrational argument. Fix the thibgs wrong dont through the steak out with the bath water. The point is it unhealthy to eat meat? No. Whether you agrwe in the ethics of current US cattle raising standards ia irrelevant to this conversation. This is where vegans loose credibility. They argue emotionally about political matters and try to convert everyone.




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          2. That’s the same old argument that is always used, example , it is used for climate change. As long as we burn clean coal, unleaded gas etc, blah, blah, blah. NUTS!




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          3. no need to insult people but ok to shoot animals in the head and slit their throats. to each his own? I guess that’s why some people felt it was ok to own slaves once upon a time. We must think outside ourselves. we are not the only creature, religion, sex, culture, race etc in the world. We have a history of thinking of only what is best for “us” to a detriment to others. Thankfully, slaves are now free, women have been given equal rights, and hopefully, animals will be recognized next as being equally entitled to live their lives free of suffering and early death simply to satisfy our taste buds.




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            1. sistadana~~Do you really think a farmer is going to raise animals just for pets??? If everyone stops eating meat , there will be no animals!!!




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              1. Katie: Some ideas to think about:
                1) We no longer use horses for transportation. While there are many fewer horses in the world compared to the past, there are still plenty of horses around. Horses are not going away.

                2) Lots of people love chickens as pets. A “farmer” may not raise animals just for pets. But plenty of people will. I know people who live in the country who just like to have llamas around for pets. They do not eat them. I know someone else who has a pet cow. There’s a YouTube video of a teenage girl with a pet cow who she taught tricks to. Etc.

                Given all the available evidence, there is no reason to fear that “There will be no animals!!!” Hope that sets your mind at ease.




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                1. Yesiree! I have a pet chicken (rooster) named Buddy. He was an inconvenient product of the backyard chicken farming craze. I rescued him, and he is WONDERFUL! Smart, funny, playful, loving. Imagine if the best dog in the world had feathers — that would be Buddy.




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                  1. Dot: I love stories of people’s pet chickens. I had no idea about the inner life of a pet chicken for most of my life. I feel so happy to be educated now. Buddy sounds awesome. Thanks for telling me about him.




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                2. People keep chickens for eggs and cows for milk and beef horses yes as pets to ride. Not many people keep these animals as pets. Its expensive ti do so for cows and horses. My froend who is a vet actually gets very angry with people who keep horses as pets becaus there is no point to doing so. We eat horse in Japan amd everything else to.




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                  1. Mark James Hill: No point to keeping horses as pets? That statement is not logical to me. Either there is good reason to keep other animals as pets or there isn’t. There’s nothing special or different that makes one domesticated animal like a dog an OK pet and another domesticated animal like a horse not OK pet as long as all of the animal’s needs are being met. The issue of cost is irrelevant as long as someone can afford to provide all of the person’s needs. I would never go to a vet who viewed nonhuman animals the way your friend does.
                    .
                    Some cultures keep dogs as pets. Some cultures eat (and first torture) dogs. Some cultures keep horses as pets. Some cultures eat (but first torture) horses. A history of doing something does not make that activity automatically OK. To explain what I mean: Some cultures used to practice human child sacrifice. And some cultures today practice slavery. This is just *not* OK. So, saying “My culture does so and so.” is not a good argument. Some cultures simply have to change.




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                3. Hi, I had a calf when I lived in the country with my husband. He was like a big dog to me. I could not have eaten him but then we had pigs too that we did eat but we fed them good food & no gmo corn but then I didn’t know how bad the food was. I am now a full fledged Vegan & don’t eat anything to do with meat. I love your nutritionfacts news information…Thank you so much…I wish I could give something but my budget is so low..I can’t..Thank you so much..Again…Nan




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                  1. Nan: That’s so cool that you had a pet cow!

                    Just being on the vegan path yourself is wonderful. You can be a roll model for others and tell them about this site (when such information would be welcome) if you want.

                    Thanks for sharing your story.




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              2. According to science and evolution (I recommend you see the three-episode series by Niels Shubin) ALL creatures on this earth, and by All I really mean All (if you watch the series you’d understand) are actually coming from the fish in the sea some 200 million years ago. We basically carry the same genes throughout time. It is amazing how we evolved from a small fish and now we claim fish and animals have no soul and are some stupid creatures for us to eat and exploit, and we, the great humans, should rule the earth. Alright, we have the head-start, but exactly this should make us even more responsible, and not more careless. We are all relatives, but we deny the other creatures on the planet the same rights we humans have – to live as they please. And Katie, if you’re worried some animals would I should tell you that most wild animals on the planet already disappeared thanks to us and some like the tigers and lions won’t be found in the wild any more 30 years from now. They are gone by 98%. Don’t worry about the chicken and cows, they are a sturdy bunch and have lived without us and before us :-)




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                1. I finally found a place where someone has brains! You know how hard it is to talk with someone about matters like this – I was called a complete moron once because I was suggesting how the human body has evolved and it’s in our DNA/genes to survive… this woman told me that the only reason why humans survived was because of sex and reproduction…. I SAID WOW… clearly she doesn’t know anything. I appreciate your comment because there are animals dying because of US… and they are going to be animals that will survive without humans involvement.




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                2. Oh god now your bringing your religion into what i choose to eat?
                  There are predetors and prey its how the weak are weeded out. We are the top tier predator. Thats how nature works. All that being said we can do it sustainably. But they are Not the same as people thays my religeon. There is zero scientific evidence we came from fish or primordial ooze its a guess amd has no place in this discission




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                  1. Look to the stars for where primate to early human dna changed. You know the story about the “forbidden” fruit? It is from a source beyond atheism




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                3. Eva, the video you watched is an educated explanation of a theory proposed 150 years ago. Remember it is a theory. There are almost 50 theories out there, all with different explanations and scienyogic discoveries have disproved all of them including the primordial ooze theory from which you are referring to. With a Masters in biological science I have studied the topic in great depth. I’m not trying to justify meat consumption in any way.
                  It would help your position if you left out the video reference as that discredits your argument. Take care




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              3. Omg really? “Well what the hell will all the negros do without their masters?” Does THAT sound ignorant now that we are 150 years away from slavery? Obviously, number one, that wouldn’t happen over night. But we all now should reduce our consumption. What would follow is a reduction in breeding of animals, and then fewer and fewer animals. Some farm animals would be accepted at animals sanctuaries. Two, if we ever got to the point that there were “no animals”, then so be it. Bringing them into the world only to kill them is not doing them any favors. Your comment is honestly so stupid I simply can’t spend any more time responding.




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                1. Comparing killing animals to keeping slaves jas to stop. Peiple are not animals. Animals are animals they cannot reason. Huge difference here. This is why evolution is a horrible theory. Peiple make sweeping generalities amd jump to conclusions




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                  1. Mark is correct. As advances in scientific technology improves we begin to learn the many flaws in evolution. Let’s not use this theory as a basis for any argument here. Thanks




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              4. Because of eating meat, we are deliberately breeding into existence billions of factory farmed animals, and then killing them before the first year has passed. Is this the existence that anyone would choose to be born into? If they are not deliverately bred these farmed animals will not be born. This would be a good thing. Think about this from THEIR point of view. Practice your empathy.




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                1. You want to be a cow? Empathy for a cow? Omg they are not thinking about any of these things. They live eat hang out go to slaughter and we eat live hang out die.
                  The circle if life. You have too much time on your hands.




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                2. Just like America and Europe importing millions of “immigrants” and placing them into the several trillion $ per year welfare system just to keep the economy running by the trillions of $ of borrowed welfare spending. All done on borrowed money that can never be paid off.




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            2. Fantastic reply / comment by sistadana! I belong to an on-line petition site called care2. Most of the people who comment there are in favor of animal rights, but there are a few carnists who endlessly go on about their cave man rights to do whatever they want with animals because it is the natural way of things. Ugh! Glad times are changing and they are on the way out! I’m vegan, and I feel great — have more energy now in my 50’s than I had in my 20’s.




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              1. When people ask me if I believe in the food chain, I say I believe in evolution because I hope we are evolving towards compassion and out of cruel brutality.




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            3. People ar not animals. Animals are raised for consumption. Its your personal viewpoint. How about plants arent they living?whats the difference because theu dont have vocal cords its ok to cit them down and chew them even raw! Omg. The tjought of tjpse helpless baby carrots. Do you cry when a wold takes down a deer?
              Your argument is pathetic. We are the top tier animal if we want toclassify us as that. If it makes youfeel better let run free and each one will be caugt or shot. Thosw animals wouldnt be alive if they werent raised for food. They are simply farmibg animals like you farm vegetables. Do animals have a soul?who knows. Do plants?who knows. Grow up people disagree with you. You can go live in Oregon orMaine or east butt to live on a commube with like minded people just dont try to convert everone else to your religeon. Please and thank you




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              1. we are NOT top tier of anything but our own ego and assimilation into carnist culture. It’s a medical FACT that eating lowest, NOT HIGHEST on the so called food chain( that begins with plant foods on land and in oceans)provides optimal nutrients and far fewer toxins.
                Besides being the optimal diet for disease prevention, killing 65 billion sentient animals every year globally and all that is required to feed, fatten, transport and kill them, is a moral failure beyond calculation, considering the cost to public health, animal suffering and the environmental genocide at hand from this! Humans are anatomically HERBIVORE which is why every organ in the human body has become a science experiment that makes billions for every foundation asking for research dollars to find “cures” for all the diseases those organs get. And those diseases would NEVER have emerged but for putting in organs what was NEVER suppose to be in them… Occams Razor… The simplest answer is the right one. Eat plants, and let the true apex predators do their jobs.




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            1. Hey Khemary, I’m kind of happy to know that someone appreciates what I share. I believe in science, but I believe in it when it has a heart. :)




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          4. Yes, “to each their own”, as long as it doesn’t (unnecessarily) harm others. Eating animal products harms lots of people: primarily the animals being killed (and don’t try to argue that a painless death is harmless: if it is, would you be ok with an unexpected bullet in the back of the head?); the environment, and the humans and other animals that will suffer from the destruction of it; the people going hungry because their food produce is being shipped overseas to feed US cows and pigs; the cost to society of trying to fix the damage done to meat-eaters’ health. So not a really good idea, all round.




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        2. I don’re think the vegan or vegetarian diet is the best diet for people or that any studies have shown it to be. In every case that I have read about a study it has compared the vegan to the standard American an diet. Vegetarian diets rely on high starch and low fat. This absolutely doesn’t work well for a lot of people. When the question. Of the best diet for people arises, I think it would be helpful to focus on that alone and not mix in arguments about kindness to animals or the environment since these are different questions.




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          1. High starch low fat can be said for meat eaters too. I am vegan and eat a balance diet. You can’t say that all vegans eat a certain way.




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            1. You have to get caloriws frim somewhere. Ive seen 2 types of vegans the fat type mwaning obese or skinny fat which is low muscke content hight pecentage of fat but looks relatively thin
              And the anhorhexic bones showing skeletor looking ones. Which one are you?




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              1. Mark James Hill: I caution you to be polite in your posts. As a moderator for this site, I’m letting you know that rudeness is not allowed.
                .
                To address your point: Some of the top athletes in the world, the ones making world records and winning Olympic metals are going vegan and winning those awards after the change. I don’t know how many vegans are in your social circle, but the great many vegans in my social circle look pretty much like everyone else, though above average over all in terms of weight and muscle tone and general air of health.




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                1. Fat and skinny fat are not rude terms they are simply accurate descriptions. Sime people are fat and in India for example there are many fat vegetarians.

                  i see a lot of comments based on bad science. Ie observational studies not clinical reasearch. They make claims that are absolutely not based on definitive evidence! All observational research shows is correlation and even that can be misleading. Its used to get funding for further research and so any catchy one liners like meat kills etc gets attention and therefore funding even if its false. And it is.

                  And your biased observations of your friends is the same type of so called evidence. Most likely they have other healthy habits now and before they were vegans. Vegans are preachy and its not simoke a food choice for them. Its always political because that is what it means to be vegan.

                  Name the athletes. I dont believe you. Ive heard this argument before but those athletes did better before they were vegetarians. People can survive for a few years as vegans but performance always drops.especially men. Carl Lewis? 2 years after going vegan he didnt even quslify for his events at the olympics. Like i said you can go for a little while but performance eventually suffers.

                  84% of American vegans and vegetarians go back to eating meat. Why? Because its not a sustainable diet. Too many caveat and exceptions supplements etc. If you eat healthy you dont need suppliments

                  No vegans in my social circle because i cant stand them. They are obnoxious by nature. If you dont like my honest and blunt viewpoint either dont be a vegan or dont read my posts. But you still have to deal with the actual scientific facts from clinical reasearch NOT OBSERVATIONAL RESEARCH.




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              2. Why don’t you take a step back and think about looking from a bigger perspective than your little social circle? You’re obviously judging vegans based on personal experience when there are how many in this world? I could take the same digs at you for being a meat head. For thinking vegans are pushing their agenda with little evidence, I don’t see you coming up with any that’s not funded by the meat and dairy industry.




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            2. Neither can you say that all meat eaters eat a certain way. Your second statement is the key in my opinion. Balance!!! Moderation in everything helps in the long run. If being Vegan or Vegetarian is the ultimate solution to all health problems then Vegans and Vegetarians would live for ever or at least never get sick but yet I’m sure that’s not the case.




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          2. This site leaves aside such concerns as kindness to animals and to the environment. Dr. Greger is concerned primarily with the nutritional aspect of our diet, and he’s backing everything he says with a ton of scientific evidence, actually, the most I have ever seen.




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        3. Your incorrect there is alot of evidence that diets more inclusive than plant based diets show similar results. They are simply not fad diets like paleo. Look for the european studies where cultures also eat meat and dairy and fishALONG WITH fruit and veg . In other words compare other people who eat healthy instead of comparing plant based diet people to the general population. Of course if you eat crap and dont exercise then start eating all the healthy foods this diet suggests of course you will be healthier but not necessarily healthier than peiple who eat the same things and also eat meat dairy and fish. Does that make sense?




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      2.  i wouldn’t call them “crazy”. if a diet works for someone, that’s fine. my problem with the stats being thrown about is that this all flies in the face of evolution. the facts pretty clearly show that high protein diets helped propel the growth of the brain and allowed the human species to flourish. so for hundreds of thousands of years, it was good and now suddenly it isn’t?

        personally, i take issue with the western mentality that every problem needs a “solution”. oh, autism cases have spiked up? wow, it’s funny how vaccinations have gone up, too, so let’s blame them. it’s the ability to understand and diagnoses problems that has developed and allowed us to understand these problems. i think moderation is key to a diet. not to mention there are going to be some disease, etc., that genetically run in families. to simply point the finger at meat and say that all of our ills are from one thing is naive. and again, considering our brain’s growth being due to proteins from fish/meat, i can’t sit here and say it’s all been bad.




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        1. I believe the brain is made up of mostly fat, and it runs on glucose. What role did protein supposedly play that you think was so important? I’ve never heard that before.




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          1. why do you think God provided yo momma with teats to produce milk and not a couple of carrots or mangoes? thats “animal protein” deary; thats what make a babys brain grow- the richer, the better. maybe thats why so many children these days are “special” and/or sickly and/or have so many allergic reactions to everything these days- fed soy based ‘formula’ instead of good ol’ mommas ‘dairy’, not veggie harvest brand canned boob alternative- organic or otherwise ;)
            ALL food production is being destroyed one way or another; “we the people” better get off our collective, sedentary asses, quit bitching on blogs and get in on changing the game- before it changes us at the genetic level..




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            1. Females of many species produce breast milk for their young to give them the necessary nutrients to grow. It is meant for infants, not fully grown adults. We get cow’s milk by artificially inseminating (raping) a female cow, ripping it’s baby away from it (the intended recipient of the cow’s milk), and bottling the milk for our own consumption. The baby cows are slaughtered and sold as “veal” while the mother (dairy cow) gets to repeat the process until her utters crack from overuse and cause infection. We deal with the infections by pumping them full of antibiotics, which is just the icing on the cake. All of these allergic reactions are for a reason, humans were never meant to drink breast milk their whole lives, and surely not that of another species. Watch some more Nutrition Facts videos and educate yourself before thinking you have the best idea of how a human diet works.




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        2. Trying to use that kind of reasoning to “figure things out” has turned out to be a scientific dead end. There are simply too many factors to take into account. People have spent millenia trying to use clever reasoning to figure out how the world works, but it’s only since scientific revolution and the introduction of clinical & empirical research that we have gotten any real answers.

          Trying to reason about evolution (for example) can give you ideas on what to research.

          It may sound reasonable that meat is crucial due to evolutionary adaptations in the human body. But it seems equally reasonable that our much longer evolutionary history as predominately plant-eaters is of greater importance.

          It may sound reasonable that the extra energy/protein from meat helped build bigger brains. But another reasonable theory is that increase was related to cooking in general. Or that bigger brains were needed to solve more complex social problems as societies grew more complex (independently of food sources).

          You also have to consider that the average human of the last 50,000 years only lived some 50 years, and as a result evolution hasn’t really acted on some of the health problems our societies are facing right now. It also sounds reasonable that the need for easily accessed energy (from animal products) used to outweigh the long-term problems associated with intake of animal products. But today the health risks associated with animal products suddenly outweigh the benefits, seeing how the production of animal foods are the less sustainable and ethical option today.

          These are just a few out of dozens or hundreds of “reasonable hypothesises” about human health and human evolution. But there is only one way to sort out what truly works for modern humans. It’s called empirical, clinical research. That research shows us how things truly work. From that data we can try to create theories on why things are like they are. But as soon as new data is presented the theories have to be adapted to take the new data into account. So you can’t simply come up with a theory like “evolution tells us that we should eat meat”, but instead you have to look at the empirical evidence and try to explain that in evolutionary terms (if that’s what you’re interested in).

          “Reasonable hypothesises” tell us nothing about reality, only empirical evidence does. The empirical data currently seems to support that a plant based diet is superior. Which is the end of the story (until other empirical data is presented). No reasoning about evolution can get around that hard data (go ask any serious evolutionary biologist!)




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          1. I get tired of people referring to the average age ( such as 50 above). During this time many people lived far far longer than this. Through most of this history many infants died in the first five years of life, thus virtually halving the ‘average’ age.




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          2. Well you can study modern populations like the Japanese amd there dietary habits and changes over the last century and see am obvious correlations between body size and protein intake. Brain size or development happens over much longer periods. Do you neceasarily need protein from meat no. Is meat bad for you no. Does is cause disease ni conclisive scientific evidence. You may find some studies to suooort that theory but there is much more modern evidence that refutes it.




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        3.  How on earth can any thinker believe in the infantile theory of evolution?  No wonder some believe in the nonsense that sprouts from that……………




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          1. what alternative to evolution do your have? creation- of which there are so many totally different stories in many religions are like lovely dreams that any of us can dream or imagine.




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            1. Nobody said creationism they simple said evolutionary theory as it is is a joke and infantile. Please refute that statment instead putting creationiam or any other theory on trial. The accusation was concerning evolution.
              Yes there are other theories evolution is just the popular one but has little definitivw evidence. Ididnt say no evidence. Its non repeatable evidence and circumstantial. I believe in some level of natural selection but not species jumping.




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        4. I believe it’s the Aeillo’s and Wheeler’s original paper that a lot of people are referencing when claiming that eating meat lead to increased brain size. However, I’m almost certain that Aeillo and Wheeler are saying that the increased brain size lead to eating more calorie-dense foods, which would include meat.

          So with that said, our brains are fueled by carbohydrates, plus newer evidence suggests human brains size increased as a result of actually thinking.

          “The so-called expensive-tissue hypothesis, which suggests a trade-off between the size of the brain and the size of the digestive tract, has been challenged by researchers at the University of Zurich. They have shown that brains in mammals have grown over the course of evolution without the digestive organs having to become smaller. The researchers have further demonstrated that the potential to store fat often goes hand in hand with relatively small brains — except in humans, who owe their increased energy intake and correspondingly large brain to communal child care, better diet and their ability to walk upright.”

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111109131304.htm

          Also, pertaining to how healthy organic meats is: well if ancient peoples had to eat it to survive, then of course they did what they had to do. However, if they lived long enough, this finding suggests that heart disease and other illnesses like arthritis could set in:

          “Otzi, who was 46 at the time of his death and measured 5ft2, also had brown eyes, had relatives in Sardinia, and was lactose intolerant. Otzi was also predisposed to heart disease.”

          “Researchers examining the contents of his stomach worked out that his final meal consisted of venison and ibex meat
          Researchers examining the contents of his stomach worked out that his final meal consisted of venison and ibex meat.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2108324/DNA-scans-reveal-5-300-year-old-mummified-Iceman-brown-eyes-relatives-Sardinia–suffered-Lyme-disease.html#ixzz2DXBg9Cda

          Researchers examining the contents of his stomach worked out that his final meal consisted of venison and ibex meat.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2108324/DNA-scans-reveal-5-300-year-old-mummified-Iceman-brown-eyes-relatives-Sardinia–suffered-Lyme-disease.html

          Was organic meat the cause of his heart issues and arthritis? Was it the lack of organic meat? Was the meat neutral? You decide.




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          1. The article fails to mention that one has found also grain and veggies in his stomach…

            http://www.iceman.it/kids/de/11-14/auswahl/getreidekoerner.html

            Einkorn (primitive form of wheat) has also been found at his clothes.

            Ötzi was a child of the neolithic era, just look at this ancestors, found 5000 years before him in the ame region….perfect sets of teeth, 1 ft huger than him…the difference between neolithic and paleolithic ages in term of foods are the grains, not the meat!




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            1. I can’t read the language of your link. Assuming it says what you say…

              The organic meat was pointed out to suggest that despite the absent of modern chemicals, this individual was still susceptible to heart disease and other illnesses. You’re saying that the grains and veggies made him ill and… short?

              Living in extreme cold temperatures, likely he wasn’t foraging nor planting. Likely any plant calorie consumed came from the remnants of his prey — meaning most of his food would come from meat. That means according to your own reasoning, meat is to blame for his illness and short stature.

              The Eskimos were at almost 100% meat diet (organic) and can you make a case that they were healthy? Can you make a connection of their short stature to … plants?

              If you got a hold of Otzi’s arteries, if there was something embedded in the walls, clogging the arteries, do you think you’d find plant products… or cholesterol?




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          2. As long as the scientific info is not cherry picked i can agree. Take this drs recommended diet and add meat and there would be no difference in health. We can see this when comoarisons of healthy vegetarians with healthy population that also eat fiah and dairy. Clean that colon out and youll feel better ahould be the main take away not restrictive religeously or politically based diets.




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        5. You are throwing a lot of misinformation around…sounds like selective confirmation bias when you read, and a need to rationalize a carnist diet…




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        6. Try playing puzzle and word games after eating meat, Then play the same type of games after consuming nut, brazil, almonds, walnuts, and higher scores due to more brain activity! Try it, it’s a fact.




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        7. Well, we have done so much with the development of food processing and handling. It’s no longer the same… animals aren’t treated as they were back then… we are talking about mass scales of animals being “produced” for the human consumption. So during this process they’re given food and supplements that keep them alive only to have them on a plate… We give them antibiotics and we find them the cheapest “food” to feed them with… so yes food is different from way back then and I feel maybe the reason why it isn’t good for us anymore is because of the lifestyle we have and also the way the animals were raised… :-)




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        8. You CLAIM human brain growth was because of meat. I say it was that, once out of the protection of the trees, those with bigger brains, survived to sexual maturity, and reproduced, while the less intelligent, smaller brained individuals died before reproducing.




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        9. Agree and when you say moderation i will add variety.
          Modern medical science has allowed us to detect disease mire often and earlier it doesnt mean incidence has risen just awareness.

          Once i asked my grandfather what his friend died of . He said …lack of breath.
          The point is he dint care the giy was dead.
          Its important to care why and help prevent the causes but there is no conclusive evidence meat and or dairy is the cause of disease.period. you van cherry pick research all you want but the concensus in the medical community is clear. This guy is in the minority. So you have to ask why.




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        1. Eating a plant based diet is the future, which is here, today! That is, if the right to life really matters. If you don’t eat plants, you don’t get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. That’s basic nutrition in a clean world. But, this world is neither clean nor non-toxic. And petrochemicals like benzene which are in weed killers and are carcinogenic, accumulate in the fat of animals and people. Benzene rings create dioxins and organochlorine chemicals, which are persistent organic pollutants and are deadly to the body’s of the animal (inc. humans) kingdom. They increase inflammation, cancers and likely all the diseases that are out there, and they increase death at a younger age.

          But if you want to die, that’s your option. Just don’t force others to eat as you choose.




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          1. I think you’ve misinterpreted me. I’m simply stating that our ancestors ate a whole lot of plants. Therefore, if one advocates the “primal” diet, then eat like our ancestors by eating loads of plants.




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        1. No sources in that debunking web page; it just has the vague reference of “multiple studies”: in other words: useless. Nutrition research is as biased as the cigarette company funded cigarette “research” of the 60s and 70s. So, unless the funding source of the nutrition research is known to be neutral, the research is suspect.




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        2. Just because people who get heart disease have cholesterol levels considered “normal” does not mean cholesterol is not at play. The issue is that cholesterol level standards are far too lenient, and even normal levels are much too high.




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          1. Nope. You’re wrong. Anyone following the majority of new research coming out about fat vs carbs, etc and CVD knows that the main culprit is excessive carbohydrate consumption. The consumption leads to small dense particle of ldl which is the type of ldl that attaches to artery walls. Cholesterol is used by every cell in the body. It is an important nutrient and relied on heavily by the brain. Studies have shown total chol levels is not a good indicator of CVD. People with low chol have just as high mortality rates then people with high chol.




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            1. Firstly regarding choelsterol.. “Given the capability of all tissues to synthesize sufficient amounts of cholesterol for their metabolic and structural needs, there is no evidence for a biological requirement for dietary cholesterol. Therefore, neither an Adequate Intake nor a Recommended Dietary Allowance is set for cholesterol. There is much evidence to indicate a positive linear trend between cholesterol intake and low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration, and therefore increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). A Tolerable Upper Intake Level is not set for cholesterol because any incremental increase in cholesterol intake increases CHD risk.”
              http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10490&page=542

              Secondly, the current optimal levels of cholesterol are too high. an LDL of 70 or below and you are heart attack proof.
              http://nutritionfacts.org/video/new-target-cholesterol/

              The low carb movement is actually a fad, and those on a low carb diet have higher mortality rates.

              Low-Fat Versus Low-Carbohydrate Weight Reduction Diets
              Effects on Weight Loss, Insulin Resistance, and Cardiovascular Risk: A Randomized Control Trial

              This study looked at 24 people who were overweight/obese and divided them into 2 groups. One group was low carb, high fat and the other high carb, low fat.

              High carb group: 20% calories from fat/60% calories from carbs

              Low carb group: 60% calories from fat/20% calories from carbs

              In addition, the study was designed so that participants would lose 1 pound per week, so calories were reduced by 500 per day.

              Volunteers were given pre weighed foods given as daily portions and were assessed by a dietician to make sure that they were adhering to the diet. After 8 weeks, this is what was found to be significant between the two groups. The low carb, high fat group experienced arterial stiffness which basically means impaired arterial function. What this means is that the people on this diet experienced low grade inflammation which can lead to the growth of atherosclerotic lesions and can become heart disease. “It is possible that the high fat content of a low-carbohydrate diet exerts detrimental effects on endothelial function, which raises concerns regarding the long-term safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets…Currently, supported by evidence from long-term trials, we believe that a low-fat diet should remain the preferred diet for diabetes prevention.”

              http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/58/12/2741.long

              Benefit of Low-Fat Over Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Endothelial Health in Obesity

              20 subjects participated in this study. “The [low carb] diet provided 20 g of carbohydrates daily, supplemented with protein and fat content according to the Atkins’ diet recommendation.19 The [low fat] diet provided 30% of the calories as fat, modeled after an American Heart Association diet.” I wouldn’t exactly call the low fat diet “low fat”, but regardless, its far less fat then the low carb diet. Both groups were given 750 calories less with pre made meals so they would stick with the protocol.

              After 6 weeks, there were significant differences between the low carb and the low fat group. The researchers performed a brachial artery test which basically tests to see if arterial function is impaired or not. Typically, the arm is cut off from circulation for about 5 min., then they release the arm, and measure how dilated the blood vessels are. If the blood vessels are constricted, it represents arterial impairment whereas dilation indicates good arterial health.

              On week 2 of the diet, both low carb and low fat groups had poor arterial health and were not significantly different, but by week 6, those on the low carb diet had far worse arterial health then before, and those eating low fat had far better.

              This again shows that this type of diet is promoting heart disease risk.

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2702133/

              Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: Two cohort Studies

              This study group gathered a larger segment of the population and included “85,168 women (aged 34-59 years at baseline) and 44,548 men (aged 40-75 years at baseline) without heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.”

              The researchers look at both low carb diets that were plant based and low carb diets that were animal based. Here is what they found.

              Low carb/animal based:

              Higher all cause mortality risk
              Higher risk of heart disease
              Higher cancer risk

              Weaker associations were found with the low carb/plant based diets.

              “In our two cohorts of U.S. men and women with up to 20-26 years of follow-up, we observed that the overall low-carbohydrate diet score was only weakly associated with all-cause mortality. However, a higher animal low-carbohydrate diet score was associated with higher all-cause and cancer mortality, while a higher vegetable low-carbohydrate score was associated with lower mortality, particularly CVD mortality.”

              “These results suggest that the health effects of a low-carbohydrate diet may depend on the type of protein and fat, and that a diet including mostly vegetable sources of protein and fat is preferable to a diet with mostly animal sources of protein and fat.”

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989112/

              Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Swedish women: prospective cohort study

              Another study performed in Europe examined another large population.

              Participants From a random population sample, 43396 Swedish women, aged 30-49 years at baseline, completed an extensive dietary questionnaire and were followed-up for an average of 15.7 years.

              Its interesting to note that like many other studies, “several well known patterns are evident, including the reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases with increasing level of education and physical activity and the increased risk with tobacco smoking and history of hypertension.”

              The authors also point out that “Although low carbohydrate-high protein diets may be nutritionally acceptable if the protein is mainly of plant origin and the reduction of carbohydrates applies mainly to simple and refined ones, the general public do not always recognise and act on these qualifications.” Which is basically saying that complex carbohydrates from plant sources or even simple sugars from fruits are not comparable with processed carbohydrates such as white flour, added sugars and other processed carbohydrate based foods such as deserts.

              The aim of the study was to look at the relationship with heart disease risk and low carb diets. They used a scoring system based on how much protein and carbohydrates were consumed. The scores ranged from 2-20. A score of 2 indicated high carbohydrate and low protein whereas a score of 20 indicates low carbohydrate and high protein.

              What the researchers found was that as the score increased, there was an increased rate of heart disease as demonstrated by the cut out below from table 3.

              “In practical terms, and taking into account the rough correspondence in the ranking of energy adjusted and crude tenths of intake, a 20 g decrease in daily carbohydrate intake and a 5 g increase in daily protein intake would correspond to a 5% increase in the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.”

              “With respect to the biomedical plausibility of our findings, vegetables, fruits, cereals, and legumes, which have been found in several studies to be core components of healthy dietary patterns,34 35 are important sources of carbohydrates, so that reduced intake of these food groups is likely to have adverse effects on cardiovascular health. Moreover, several studies have reported that meat consumption or high intake of protein from animal sources may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383863/

              Low-carbohydrate–high-protein diet and long-term survival in a general population cohort

              Another European cohort study examined data from 2,944 Greeks. The aim of the study was to see whether low carb diets had a strong relationship with all cause mortality. The study notes that low carb diets are popular for weight loss, but they also note that other diets such as zone, weight watchers and the Ornish diet as well as the Atkins diet all produced similar weight loss after 1 year. “It is, thus, of considerable interest, to examine whether prolonged consumption of LC/HP diets is compatible with long-term health.”

              Here is what the study classified as low carbohydrate: 20% carbs, 25% protein, 55% fat

              Here is what is classified as high carbohydrate: 50% carbohydrate, 10% protein and 40% fat.

              Although both diets are very high fat when compared to a healthier, lower fat diet, we are examining the effect of reducing carbohydrate consumption. It is also important to note that we also don’t know what the majority of the carbohydrate sources were, as they could be highly processed. Nonetheless, here are the results.

              In all model tests performed in the study, low carbohydrate/high protein diets had a strong positive relationship with mortality. Models 1 and 2 did not control for calories.

              Model 1: “increasing protein intake was significantly associated with total mortality, whereas increasing carbohydrate intake was associated with nonsignificant reduction of this mortality.”

              Model 2: “the [low carb, high protein] score (absolute values) was positively associated with mortality, although the association did not reach statistical significance”

              Models 3 and 4 controlled for calories, but model 3 did not control for complimentary changes in calories when either protein or carbohydrates are reduced

              Model 3: “mortality was significantly associated with reduction of energy-adjusted carbohydrate intake and nonsignificantly with increasing protein intake.”

              Model 4 shows the most compelling results as it accounted for calories and changes in the low carb, high protein score were unrelated to caloric intake.

              Model 4: “In this model, increasing LC/HP score was significantly associated with mortality… It is worth noting that in all these models mortality tends to be inversely associated with intake of unsaturated lipids and positively, although not always significantly, with saturated lipids.

              What they find from this data is that “an increase of protein intake by about 15 g/day and a decrease of carbohydrate intake by about 50 g/day) was associated with a 22% increase in overall mortality”

              “In conclusion, we have found evidence that dietary patterns that indiscriminate focus on low intake of carbohydrates in general and high intake of proteins in general, and reflect diets that have been frequently recommended for weight reduction, may be associated with increased total mortality if they are pursued for extended periods.”

              http://folk.ntnu.no/lyngbakk/artikler/trichopoulou.pdf

              Low carbohydrate, high fat diet increases C-reactive protein during weight loss.

              Unfortunately, I was unable to find the full text of this study so it is difficult for me to view the details and all I can do is base my conclusions of the study based on the abstract which is not something I like to do. Regardless, the study revealed a very interesting finding. It showed that when subjects of the study went on a low carb, high protein diet for 4 weeks, they had a 25% increase in C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation which basically means that this group of people were promoting the development of a chronic disease. In contrast, the high carbohydrate subjects decreased their levels of C-reactive protein by 48%.

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17536128

              Low carbohydrate–high protein diet and mortality in a cohort of Swedish women

              We go back to the Swedish cohort study and examine overall mortality as opposed to just cardiovascular risk. The study looked at 42,237 women for 12 years. What they found was this, the higher the protein intake, the higher the mortality and inversely with carbohydrate intake. The higher the fat, both saturated and unsaturated, the higher the mortality rate. And most importantly, the authors note, higher mortality was not correlated with energy intake. The authors note “Increased protein intake and decreased carbohydrate intake appear to be equally unfavourable for cardiovascular mortality”

              The data shows that both heart disease and cancer rates increase when consuming a lower carb, high protein diet.

              “After fine controlling for all assessed mortality risk factors that could act as confounding variables, as well as for total energy and saturated fat intake, women with lower intake of total carbohydrates and higher intake of total proteins, in comparison to those with higher intake of total carbohydrates and lower intake of total proteins, had significantly higher total mortality and, in particular, cardiovascular mortality.”

              http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2007.01774.x/full

              Comparative Effects of Three Popular Diets on Lipids, Endothelial Function, and C-Reactive Protein during Weight Maintenance

              This study is quite interesting. It examined 18 adults aged 20 or over for 6 months. The aim of the study was to examine their health when on 3 diets, the Atkins diet (high fat, low carb), the South beach diet (Mediterranean) and the Ornish diet (low fat, high carb). They found no significant differences between the 3 diets in terms of calories consumed. The results are interesting as seen in the figure below.

              They found higher LDL in the Atkins diet and lower LDL in the low fat Ornish diet. They also found significantly higher levels of C-reactive protein in the atkins diet as opposed to the Ornish diet. What was also found was that the atkins diet had poor results for the Brachial Artery test which again shows impaired arterial function. “High saturated fat intake may adversely impact lipids and endothelial function during weight maintenance. As such, popular diets such as Atkins may be less advantageous for CHD risk reduction when compared to the Ornish and South Beach diets”

              http://engine2diet.com/usrfiles/files/publishedstudies/obesity/comparative-effects-of-3-diets.pdf

              It is interesting to note that TOTAL cholesterol decreased on an ornish diet including HDL, and that the triglycerides increased on an Ornish diet.

              A review examining 108 randomized control trials found this.

              “This systematic review and meta-regression analysis of 108 randomised controlled trials using lipid modifying interventions did not show an association between treatment mediated change in high density lipoprotein cholesterol and risk ratios for coronary heart disease events, coronary heart disease deaths, or total deaths whenever change in low density lipoprotein cholesterol was taken into account. We found a statistically significant, substantial association between change in low density lipoprotein cholesterol and risk ratios for coronary heart disease events, coronary heart disease deaths, or total deaths”

              “Our findings contribute to accumulating evidence that simply increasing the amount of circulating high density lipoprotein cholesterol does not necessarily confer cardiovascular benefits”

              They also note that HDL that is dysfunctional and pro inflammatory may be produced under certain dietary conditions, “recent data suggest that a low fat, high fibre diet, in combination with exercise, converts high density lipoprotein cholesterol from a pro-inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory state.”

              Conclusion: “Available data suggest that simply increasing the amount of circulating high density lipoprotein cholesterol does not reduce the risk of coronary heart disease events, coronary heart disease deaths, or total deaths. The results support reduction in low density lipoprotein cholesterol as the primary goal for lipid modifying interventions.”

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2645847/

              Another study examining the effects the different lipids in terms of heart disease risk found that “triglyceride concentration was not independently related with CHD risk after controlling for HDL-C, non–HDL-C, and other standard risk factors, including null findings in women and under nonfasting conditions.21,22 Hence, for population-wide assessment of vascular risk, triglyceride measurement provides no additional information about vascular risk given knowledge of HDL-C and total cholesterol levels, although there may be separate reasons to measure triglyceride concentration (eg, prevention of pancreatitis).”

              http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=184863

              In addition, please see here
              http://nutritionfacts.org/video/low-carb-diets-and-coronary-blood-flow/

              And here
              http://nutritionfacts.org/video/atkins-diet-trouble-keeping-it-up/




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      3. Not only is a plant based diet NOT a scam, but it is no longer primal. It is the future unless you want to be on drugs for the rest of your shorter life of eating meat (flesh), eggs, and dairy. If you want to avoid most recombinant DNA in foods, you can grow your own vegan foods in your backyard. On the other hand, if genetically modified crap doesn’t bother you. Enjoy the recombinant DNA in pharmaceuticals of all kinds in the USA.

        Looking at the side effects of drugs like Boniva and other drugs that supposedly build bone, they significantly increase pain. I do not want to go there. Eating the large quantities of calcium from yogurt and dairy that I had eaten all my life did nothing to keep my bones strong as I approached the age of 65. What they did was increase my body size –not my bone size. And, when I fractured my spine this year, they increased my pain.

        I can eat a quart size pan full of collard greens and not even come near the calories of drinking a quart of milk, but have more calcium. Now granted, I love milk –organic milk that is. But, even organic, low fat milk has cholesterol, and much more. It has low levels of dioxins, organochlorine pesticides and other fat soluble chemicals that collect and concentrate in my body fat and increase the risk of cancer, immune system damage, and a whole host of diseases. And, with corporations today changing the DNA of food seeds of plants fed to livestock to make the seeds resist more herbicides including Roundup, (Agent Orange) 2,4-D (which the Bush-Cheney EPA admitted is contaminated with 2,3,7,8 TCDD dioxin –the most toxic form of dioxin ever inadvertently created by mankind), dicamba (also contaminated with dioxins) and other toxic pesticides, which are building up in the air (according to the U.S.G.S.) come back to earth with the rain (and snow), and build up in animals and people who top the food chain. Why are you eating meat, dairy, eggs and poisoning yourself????? I tried to get my dog to eat vegetarian before she died. Unfortunately, the vet took her off the food that was making her better and put her on the food that killed her.

        The only way to eat and survive is a plant based diet.




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      4. Really so your saying doctor Greger has no life he has nothing else better to do if really a scam you may as well call him a mass murderer i am sensing your eating to much meat and i never applied any of this fully it is just common sense there is no way that every single study and all test test the people and the countries involved are consider a scam. What an absurd claim obviously this is the comment from a brain that is clouded with toxins.




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    3. Absolutely Mind-blowing! I have shared this video, and others, so many times I cannot count. I would like to share with you, that at least four people that I know of have become vegetarian and working towards vegan because of it. THANK YOU.




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      1. If you look at the overlapping confidence intervals, you can see the study is not (yet) able to differentiate between the different classes of “vegetarians.” As the researchers write in the discussion, they’re hoping to be able to do direct comparisons between vegetarian groups in a much anticipated later follow-up. The cohort’s only been followed for about 6 years, and so far the only main take-home we can tease out is that all classes of “vegetarians” clumped together live longer than even the healthy meateaters tracked in the study (Adventist vegetarians live up to 10 years longer than regular meateaters). Another major goal they describe is to study specific causes of mortality and associations with specific foods within the broader dietary patterns–exciting stuff!




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    4. This is the third time of watching it! I don’t mind that this video is long as it sums up all the reasons into one video on why to eat plant based. This video is powerful! I want to remember all the facts so when people who don’t understand why I want to eat this way I can give them facts that they can’t argue with! Thankyou for your hard work, Jess :)




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    5. Ive only watched half of this so far but I think its gonna change my life after @ 10 years of huge fast food weight gain after some life trauma… and not knowing how to get back on track…. go paleo? vegan? is grain bad? etc etc. No longer feeling conflicted and hopeless. THANKS




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      1. Guest: I’m so glad you aren’t feeling so conflicted and hopeless. I agree that once someone is exposed to this information, it is compelling.

        Just in case you didn’t know it, Dr. Greger has released 2 other summary videos. If you managed to get through this one and want to check out the other two, here they are:
        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/more-than-an-apple-a-day-preventing-our-most-common-diseases/
        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/from-table-to-able/

        Well worth your time and effort. With each video, I suspect that you will feel more and more confident about your choices. Good luck and let us know if you need any how-to suggestions.




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      2. Try not to get overwhelmed. Drink more spring water, eat more fruits and nuts..start slowly and you will notice the difference. take the doctors advice and try eating plant based. I feel amazing! So go for it.




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    6. Hello Dr. Michael Greger! Since I became a vegan more than a year ago some of my friends and family started to get worried about my health. They think that humans need animal products to be healthy so I made this compilation video which proves once and for all that vegan diet (or rather a plant-based diet) is the healthiest diet for human beings. I’ve been thinking on making a video about how awesome you are as well so this video mostly involves you and the great work you’ve done! Thank you for everything that you are doing! We are really lucky to have you on our side!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mr7Bm8UbAA




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      1. Berkay: Nice video. It can be so *hard* when you do not have support of family and friends. Sometimes you are fighting ignorance. Sometimes you are fighting those who have their own internal conflicts. I bet making that video was cathartic.

        If possible, you might also want to reach out to plant-based groups in your area. Having some friends in your life who already “get it” can be a huge help. Just an idea. If you are interested, you might start with searching for a group through the Meetup site. Good luck.




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    7. Hi Doc. I have just watched your video on an apple a day. very informative. it confirms
      what I had read sometime ago in a book called ‘the grape cure’. what I would
      like to find out about though is that I have Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). I am
      therefore discouraged from eating green vegetables as these have vitamin K which
      depresses the INR and leads to the proliferation of blood clots. I am keen to
      become a vegetarian but not sure if this is the appropriate way given my
      condition. broccoli cabbage and kale are my favorite foods that I am supposed
      not to eat. any suggestions for people with DVT?




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    8. I love the enthusiasm when you talk, It’s a joy to listen to you Dr. Greger ! With a sense of humor but so convincing at the same time. Thank you so much for your hard work. We need more people like you in this world !




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  2. Dr. Greger, thank you very much for uploading this video. I’ve really been wanting to see a live presentation by you for a long time, but haven’t been able to get out to any of them. I can’t wait to watch this info-jam-packed video! Thank you again.




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  3. Hi!  I’ve been raw vegan for 13 years (in August) and have just come across your work (via Ruth Heindrich).  Absolutely love it and will share, share, share with as many people as I can.  Thank you so much for all that you are doing x




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  4. Dr. Greger,

    I realize that you have so much science to cover each year and, as you indicate, this undoubtedly puts a lot of strain on your available time and resources. I believe that your website has the potential to be a unique place to discuss the latest science. I feel, however, that the discussion component would be more meaningful if greater effort could be devoted to addressing scientific questions and comments from readers. I have followed all of your videos and read many of the background articles. Regrettably, however, relatively few of the concerns that I have about the science have ever been addressed.

    I hope that you take this feedback in the spirit of improving an already great website.




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  5. Possibly the best presentation ever.

    Loaded with amazing information — lots of things stood out to me, like how our body cannot defend against the endotoxins; I mean, we’re not vultures! It’s seems so common sense.

    And I found it interesting that vegan men have higher testosterone? Did I hear that right?  That goes against what so many men think, since testosterone = “manly-men” in their minds. It seems that belief is so prevalent. Men seem so afraid of being unmanly, and vegetables = wimp, vegan = weak; while meat = virility. I mean all the meaty commercials make it so sexy…Gotta have it! They’ll go to their graves with meat in their cold dead mouths!
    Sexist thinking abounds. (Read Carol J. Adams, Sexual Politics of Meat if interested; it’s fascinating)

    So much great info; I do love that the studies are getting so specific now! It’s getting harder for detractors to blow off the facts!

    A thousand thank you’s, Dr. Greger. When are you coming to Los Angeles?!!




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  6. Hi — I am a vegan animal activist and took the time to watch today’s video. 

    I’ve been hearing more and more anecdotal stories about people “waking up” to the vegan message and being motivated pretty much solely by the health factor. If vegans could get their vegan-reluctant friends and families to take the time to watch this video it, I think it will blow their minds, like it did mine (and I’m already vegan).

    I am fired up to get this information out into the airwaves somehow.  I do have a 1/2 hour show called “Glass Walls” on Queens Public Access TV (and I also know two other people who have shows on Public Access) and would like to know if I could get a dvd or a tape of it.  A Sonydvcam tape is the required format at QPTV (and being a total newbie at tv editing and production I have had many obstacles because of it) but any format you could supply I will try to work with to get it aired.

    Thanks Dr. Greger … I think the time is ripening that people’s ears will be perking up to your educational efforts.




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  7. Dr. Greger,

    I think you might be off a little on the leading cause of death.  As far as I can tell, birth is the leading cause of death.  :).  Just having fun.  Thanks for all you do.

    Steve




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        1. The “only way”? Clearly, that is debatable and depends on your definition of healthy
          (see links below) .  At the moment, it seems that there is no one and “only way to get healthier”. That in actuality, there may be many ways to eat to get healthier and be healthy.

          If the goal is preventing and treating disease by way of diet, it seems clear from the currently available scientific evidence that some diets are better at preventing and treating disease than others.  It just so happens that “the balance of scientific evidence suggests that the healthiest way to eat [to prevent and treat disease] is a vitamin B12-fortified diet of whole plant foods”. At the moment, it seems that there is not enough evidence to indicate that other diets are capable of preventing and treating disease to the same degree that a plant-based diet can for most people. 

          Moreover, I think it is also debatable whether a meat-based primal/paleo diet is a sensible and healthy way to eat for the planet…but that is discussion for another forum.

          http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2011/10/27/141666659/the-paleo-diet-not-the-way-to-a-healthy-future

          http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/07/the-paleo-diet-caveman-cure-all-or-unhealthy-fad/242621/#




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          1. as a wholistic healthcare practitionerI always ask anyone picking up a statin in the retail setting if anyone told them to avoid partially hydrogenated oil. Many have not even heard of it. I explain what it is, how it’s formed, how to avoid it and which other oils to use.




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  8. Thanks so much for this full-length video! What a great surprise!

    I keep thinking that the US will some day reach a tipping-point, and the meat myths will come tumbling down, but it never seems to happen.  In answering people’s questions regarding my diet, I have changed my tactics, somewhat. As a way to appeal to their innate selfishness, I tell them that I don’t care what anyone else eats, as long as I can have the best for myself. I don’t need the best car, the best home, or the best telephone on the market, but they can’t take my veggies from me! That’s sacred!

    Thanks again! 




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        1. I bought mine from this website a few weeks ago…proceeds to charity…LOVED this video!!!! It really is life-changing and life-SAVING as someone else has asserted!




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    1.  There is some debate from Dr. McDougall that isolated soy proteins raise IGF-1 levels even more so than milk. Search McDougall igf1 at youtube, he has a video. So if you are making the effort with a plant based diet, it makes sense to stay away from highly processed soy. But regular soy cakes are fine.




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    2.  Hi Kay, IGF-1 is elevated by a variety of causes. Casein the predominant protein in dairy causes a rise and protein free diets cause a decrease. So not consuming excess protein seems to be a good idea. There is a difference between animal and plant protein but many similarities as well Animal protein generally contains more sulfur based amino acids then plant protein but they all contain  the same essentials amino acids. The body uses what it needs but then eliminates the rest. Tthere is no way you can not get enough protein and the essential amino acids you need if you consume adequate calories. It seems like it is wise not making a point of eating alot of protein rich foods. The best referenced information on protein that I have seen can be found in articles in Dr. John McDougalls three newsletters dated 12/03, 1/04 and 4/07. You can find these by going to his websites and looking up the newsletters. The articles are on Protein History, Where do I get my protein and Protein overload. Hope this helps.




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    3.  Plant protein does not raise IGF-1 levels, only animal proteins have this negative effect on our bodies.  If you get a chance to hear any of Dr T Colin Campbell’s lectures or Amazing Discoveries, Dr Walter Veith, they clearly present the evidence that animal proteins are the culprits in cancer and disease proliferation.  Check them out.




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  9. Nutritionfacts.org by Dr. Mercola, is the best information on nutrition. I started watching it based on a recommendation by non other than Dr. McDougall.
    Wouldn’t it be great if we could get this particular video shown in every high-school in America and every other country.




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  10. We spoke in Golden, CO. Thank You, I’m so happy to now be able to share this! ✿¸.•°*”˜ƸӜƷ˜”*°•.•.¸ღ¸☆´ ¸.✿´´¯`•.¸¸. ི♥ྀ.
    (¯`v´¯) ….♥ Thank You Dr. Greger ♥ 
    `*.¸.*.♥.✿´´¯`•.¸⁀°♡ 
    ☼*¨*• ˚°❀ღ ˚°❀ღ•*❤*•…




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  11. As ususal, Dr Greger is brilliant, funny, compelling, and I could go on for hours with compliments. Thank you, Dr. Greger, you are a national treasure. Who needs Dr.Oz when we have Dr. Greger?




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  12. Are you on the fence about spending time with this video?  I DARE you to watch 10 minutes and 31 seconds only.  Not a second more.  I bet you can’t do it.

    Thanks so much Dr. Greger for posting this video.




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  13. Dr. Greger,

    Can you please reference the specific diet used in the studies you detail from 13:45-18:00 in your video? You keep referring to a plant-based or vegan diet having those specific effects, but the studies note a “low-fat, high fiber diet.” The link here for one of those studies describes the diet as follows:

    “During their stay at the Center the men were given prepared meals with 12–15% fat calories, 15–20% protein calories and the majority of calories (65–70%) from unrefined complex carbohydrates high in fiber (>40g/day). The man ate ad libitum except for animal protein that was limited to 3.5oz of fish/fowl served 3 days/week and small amounts in soups or casseroles 2 days/week. ”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135793/?tool=pubmed 

    Thanks




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    1. THANK YOU for giving me something to share with friends and family to explain one of the many reasons why I am a vegan! I hope it saves many people from suffering diseases and ill health. I only wish this information was taught in every school around the globe.




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  14. Thank You for making this excellent speech available to all. I will share it with all who will listen. I live a plant strong, vegan life and feel wonderful!
             




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  15. i gotta say as a meat eater, i will seriously try to cut back to just fish and see how i can break the habits.
    I enjoyed watching you immensely, you’re hilarious :) 




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  16. Dr G.,

    I remember a few years ago John McDougall talked about higher IGF-1 concentrations in Isolated Soy Protein (in shakes, faux meats, protein bars, etc.).  Has this been borne out over time?




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  17. How I wish you had more time for the quiz show format Dr. Greger! I am so grateful to have listened to your presentation! You clearly draw a line between the diet fads and the hidden truth in clinical nutrition! Kudos to you!




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  18. This is one of the most outstanding presentations.  I watch the daily presentations each day.  I have thought how nice it would be to have a summary of health promoting lifestyle is this manner.  I hope you will do this again in the future with future research.  I will forward this to many.  Thanks.




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  19. Brilliant! Thanks so much for posting this, Dr. Greger. It should be required viewing by every North American. Your comic timing and sense of irony are superb. Thanks for doing what you do.




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  20. You are fabulous. Special thanks to Kristensraw.com who introduced me to your videos and website. Your information and delivery is outstanding. After watching your video…someone has to have a screw loose if they eat meat and dairy… I will always follow you…




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  21. Dr. Greger, according to Buddhism, vegan can have lower accidence.
    I just want to be a vegan by my own feeling,  not necessary by scientific proof.
    But I know public need such proof.
    Thanks for video!




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  22. Thank you, Dr Greger.  In short, this is the best informational video on diet and nutrition with scientific basis… and a great way to share with others.  
    Thank you for your dedication and passion in this effort.




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  23. This was so informative video that convinced me going back to vegan diet again. I have been following vegetarian diet for two years and I became vegan almost one year ago. But I have started to consume cheese and foods which has egg and milk in them ( such as cakes, chocolate with milk, coffe with cream, ice cream… ).  After 3 months of enjoying with all these sugary and milky foods, I started to feel effects of this diet not just in my body but also on my mind. Thus, I was thinking about going back to vegan diet and your video made me take this decision with no question. Thnaks a lot! :)




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  24. You cite a study that uses people eating an Egg McMuffin as proof that eggs and meat cause inflammation? Seriously? How about a study where people eat high-quality foods instead of a preservative rich product of “meat” and “eggs” with a big ol’ gluten chaser? Getting inflammation from an Egg McMuffin proves one thing: Egg McMuffin sandwiches are bad for you. 




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  25. You rock Dr. Gregor!  I really enjoy your videos.  You have made such a difference in my life,and my family’s life.   Your videos are inspiring, engaging and informative. Viewing them has helped me stay focused on staying true to my plant-based values!  




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    1. Hi Angela,

      I just read 2 really good books on this topic written by 2 athletes who are vegan endurance athletes.

      Eat and Run by Scott Jurek and Ultraman by Rich Roll. They train and compete hours and hours a day on a vegan diet.




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    2. Evidence indicates that modern-day Inuits (Eskimos), suffer from heart disease and other forms of atherosclerosis (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16997359), and that modern-day hunter-gathers who base their diets on plant foods are free of such diseases. Also, osteoporosis (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4412233), is an epidemic
      among meat and fish consuming hunter-gathers, specifically the Inuits. 
      It seems that Olympic athletes live on a variety of diets:http://www.fitsugar.com/Weird-Diets-Olympic-Athletes-24190955

      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/24/olympic-athletes-diets_n_1696366.html

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/olympic_infographics_and_data/9397299/Olympics-2012-Team-GB-athletes-diets-interactive.html




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      1. Referring to your last paragraph, I am in my 80th year. Since the age of 17 I followeed a wholefood vegetarian diet. As a result, I am sure, I had ‘flu once as an adult and have no regular aches and pains. I haven’t had a cold for over 10 years.
        Although quite good at athletics as a kid, this did not carry into my adult life. I was active in business, and took moderate exercise, including for many years, about 4 hours dancing every night.
        At many points, including now, I have felt that I am having the best time of my life, which seems to indicate that my physical and mental well-being is OK.
        I notice other peoples’ lives a lot and have a real feeling that my life has been the happiest that I have ever considered, far far happier than many of the famous and wealthy people about whom we can read.




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        1. Mike: I’ve seen your recent posts on this site and wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences. While I am late to the game compared to you, you have inspired me.




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  26. sadly having trouble hearing this.  seems to have two commentaries running at once. Help please.  blessings  Annie and the animals .  Want to be able to pass this on to mynetwork.




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  27. Thank you so much for this video and all your incredibly awesome work. It completely baffles me how all this information is rarely discussed or presented as an option for disease prevention within our culture and medical system. I can understand that there is no money to gain in ‘prescribing’ natural whole foods – but it is so troubling the amount of marketing, money and human suffering that continues on and on – decade after decade …. Thank goodness for people like you! I will continue sharing your site and of course, follow your research.




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  28. Dr Gregor, you’re the bomb!  I’ll bet the meat industry is quaking in their muck boots at this very moment!  ;-)  God bless and keep up your great work!  Thanks for sharing this excellent presentation with us!




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  29. I like more people become vegan, then apples and berries would lower down the price as cheap as chicken!
    People hesitate to become vegan, because the only advantage of meat is easily to satisfy people at the moment. People usually notice the moment feeling rather than feel the future impact. As to me, I am used to be a vegetarian, so usually I can feel  irratation soon after eating meat. 
    Trust our own feeling, not only depend on scientific proof, which is easily to be disputed by a narrow view.  I believe housefly can work for the food, but it can also bring some unknown bad thing. ..I like banana very much, but it contains high potassium, kidney disease people can not consume a lot…I guess milk is good for replenishment temporary for malnutrition, but is not good for long period consumption…




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  30. I was always confident about my choice but now I have even better medical support because of your video. But the irony is that the most ‘annoying’ people who don’t agree with me are from medical environment (my relative who is ex-nurse, one friend who studies medicine). They are too narrow-minded and sceptical about it because they olny belive in what they are/were tought. It’ such a shame that my med-student-friend even sent me one picture in which there are religious symbols on the right and the phrase ‘belief’ and science on the left and phrases like ‘arguments, experiment’. and she said that I am on the right side of this picture because I am vegan!!! When I sent Neal Barnard and Colin Campbell videos she refused to watch them saying that this is all fraud. And she is the future doctor!!! and not interested in these topics! Recently I drove back home with my relative ex-nurse who offered me some milk-and-egg filled cookies, I politely refused and she said: ‘oh, you’re still following your abnormal diet!’ and looking at me with disapproval. And that’s me who never eats chemical foods(even vegan ones), I aim at low-fat, low-oil, low-salt organic natural foods, and that’s me who being abnormal… and healthier than all of them.. *okay face*. Well, I’m learning to stand for my choices too, recently my family and I were in one town which is popular for its meat, we decided to eat in a cafe, and EVERYTHING they had in the menu was with various kinds of meat, dairy sauces or pizzas with cheese. I said that I wished some vegetables and potatoes, waitress said that they serve that only with meat and there is no seperate price for it. When I told her I’m not meat-eater she was confused but in the end I got what I wanted. I guess I’m used to being ‘crazy’ among ‘normal’ people and I’m even starting to like it! :)




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    1.  Angela:  Thank you for sharing your story.  I was getting frustrated just listening about your relatives.  I can just imagine what it must be like to have to deal with them personally.  Good for you for being the one to actually stick to the science.




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      1. It’s not only due to personality, dear.  If someone give me videos about we must eat meat, I will refuse too. Am I stubborn? Maybe, but, obviously we have been always fooled by allerged scientific proof!  However, True wolf comes this time!




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  31. Thank you for sharing this educational AND entertaining video. I’m vegan and working to open the eyes of my extended family. I think I’ll pay them to watch this video! 




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  32. I noticed that the first few minutes have been edited out since I first saw the video. It showed the warm, warm welcome that the audience gave you when you first took the mike. You deserved that, and I’m glad I saw the original version before editing took place.




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  33. Your intentions are admirable, and the goal of reducing dependency on prescription drugs is very desirable. I agree that drug corporations, CAFO meat industry and what-not are all bad things.

    However, the data you have chosen to present in support of a vegan-diet is cherry-picked, misleading and incomplete. What kind of meat were these people eating? What kind of fat? Were they also eating processed starches? Consuming massive amounts of sugar? Were they smoking/drinking as well? What were their activity levels? I’ll bet it was CAFO produced animal products, highly processed oils such as canola or peanut, processed meat products IN ADDITION TO THE PROCESSED STARCHES THAT COME ALONG WITH THEM, such as a burger for McDonald’s, not a grass-fed skirt steak with baked sweet potatoes and sauteed kale.

    Comparing the worst of meat-eaters to the “best” of vegans does not equal scientific evidence.

    I eat eggs from soy-free, pasture-raised chickens daily for breakfast. I eat free-range, grass-fed beef and pork from local farmers. I eat plenty of healthy fats such as olive and coconut oils, vegetables and fruit, and a moderate amount of dairy. I do not consume processed foods, grains, legumes, or I am in impeccable health. My cholesterol is 141, and I have not been sick in 3 years (knock on wood). I ran the world’s toughest obstacle course a few weeks ago. I feel strong and resilient. Not many of my vegetarian/vegan friends can say the same.

    Your recommendation for a vegan-diet is ill-informed and simply bad advice. Grains are destructive to our GI tracts. SOY IS TERRIBLE, even worse for men. Diabetes is NOT caused by fat. It is caused by the addiction to carbohydrates and sugars that a vegan diet is full of. Vegan diet also does not equal ethical eating. GMOs and pesticides are abound in your hallowed plant-based diet. Millions of field animals are killed while farmers harvest the grains you consume ad nauseam.

    Anyone interested in real health, go to http://www.marksdailyapple.com, or research the Paleolithic diet and see if it something you agree with.




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  34. Thank you so much for uploading it! I am a dialysis nurse and am completely dismayed at how much animal protein our (non-veg) dieticians are telling our patients to eat! They could be suggesting some quinoa instead!  anyway, love listening to your videos.




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  35. have no compassion for those murderers who kill animals and eat their corpses. if they stop and become vegan, then they are welcomed to the humanity. else. let them die sooner. better for animals. (they dont get murdered) better for corpse eaters (they are dead – so – they create less karma for their miserable souls.) win win.




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  36. Speaking of that I read today in the paper that the meat industry went crazy this week when the USDA recommended to its employees to try a meatless Monday in a memo. They took the memo down after complaints from the meat industry. A executive called it treason and said who ever was involved in that memo should be fired!




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  37. Hi! Just curious, when you compare the effects of cholesterol from a single egg a day to 5 cigarettes a day for 15 years, did you mean the single egg a day for 15 years as well or was the duration different? LOVE your work!




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  38. Incredible nutritional fodder.  THANK YOU!  Loving your presentations, your humor and SO glad to have another highly respected physician backing my nutritional soapbox.




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  39. Incredible nutritional fodder.  THANK YOU!  Loving your presentations, your humor and SO glad to have another highly respected physician backing my nutritional soapbox.




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  40. Hi Dr. Greger,

      I find myself constantly referencing material presented here with my students, friends, and random strangers.  I tell as many people as I can about your site.  Thanks for giving us all such great information while keeping the mood light and fun!




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  41. What does the vegan diet look like that is being referred to ? can you cook the veggies ? I want to change my eating habits but honestly i can just eat raw lettus and a strip of carrot… 




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    1. Dr. Greger does not recommend any specific type of vegan diet.  Overall, he recommends a balanced diet that is low fat, whole grain, and plant-based (that is, non-meat–this includes poultry/fish/eggs–, non-dairy, whole grains, mostly fruits and veggies (cooked or raw).  (In fact, it is better to eat your veggies cooked than raw most of the time…see Dr. G’s video on the topic.)

      There are many plant-based ways to eat. To go vegan, is not that difficult really, but like all changes it takes time and getting used to until it sticks. There are SO MANY wonderful resources out there that can guide you along the way.  Like Dr. Barnard’s “21 Day Vegan Kickstart Program”. http://www.21daykickstart.org/ 

      I also really like NutritionMD a lot as well.  Loads of information about nutrition, recipes, and how to construct a  vegan grocery shopping list (and so much more). http://www.nutritionmd.org/index.html 

      You may also want to read Jack Norris and Virginia Messina’s _Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet_.

      Also, check out Dr. Greger’s “optimum nutrition recommendations”: http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-greger%E2%80%99s-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/ 

      A trip to the library or bookstore, or a good search on the internet, should yield a plethora of information on plant-based/vegan resources.  You may want to start here:

      http://www.veganhealth.org/ 
      http://www.peta.org/living/default.aspx 
      http://www.cok.net/ 
      http://www.meatoutmondays.org/7days.htm 
      http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/recipes/
      http://www.PCRM.org 
      http://www.DrMcDougall.com
      http://www.drfuhrman.com/ 
      http://www.PMRI.org  
      http://www.TColinCampbell.org 
      http://www.HeartAttackProof.com  

      Wishing you and your son the best of health!




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      1. Cooking foods increases absorbtion, but this is the price we pay for decreased amount of enzymes. Cooked òver 40 degrees = dead(plants or meat), raw = live, as for myself, I feel a lot better on raw food than on cooked, but it requires a LOT of eating, a lot of time to get enough energy, if I had nothing to do I would always eat raw food, but now I eat steamed veggies and potatoes if I have no time for buying kilos of fruits.




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        1. Personally, I like practical diets as well. Can’t just sit at home and eat all day. By far, the best part of plant-based eating is not having to count calories, fat, etc. That, and knowing that my body is being powered with goodness with each bite that I take. Knowing that I am easing the burden on the planet and the suffering of animals and meat processing workers is a pretty grand feeling as well. :)




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  42. Highly recommended! “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” is worth watching all the way through. Thank you, Dr. Gregor, for bringing to light many scientific studies and articles I only learned about because of your video.




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  43. This is FABULOUS! Finally, the TRUTH – not only the amazing value of a vegan diet, but the cherry on top – an exposé of governmental leader’s personal interest at the cost of public interest at its finest. KUDOS!!! and THANKS. I’ve been longing to hear these words for a long time.




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  44. Was any of this research done on organic grass fed animal products or just factory farmed animals? Just wondering if the results would be any different.




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    1. Most of the issues in animal products are due to inherent compounds such as cholesterol, xenoestrogens, endotoxins and other substances. Even if the meats were clear of contaminants, these compounds are inherent of meat and cannot be separated.




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  45. I absolutely loved this video. I actually recently started moving toward a plant based diet and trying very hard to get my teen, family and friends to follow suit. :)
    I have shared this video with all of my Facebook friends and will continue to do so.




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  46. (I apologize for running my comments together. I am unsure if hitting the Return key will get me a new paragrapgh or cause an unfinished statement to be sent.) Seems to me that your favor of the vegan diet overlooks the significantly overwhelming evidences of poor quality (unhealthy) foods generally available in North America. There is unwise, ignorant use of harmful pesticides, insecticides, over-farmed soil, and artificially and inadequately enhanced soil. Common farming practices are based on doing what produces the most abundant and attractive, without doing what is best for the health of people, who will eat the produce, and that of the animals and farmed fish (which people will, also, eat). If those who can afford truly organic produce and meat/poultry/fish would buy them, then more farmers would see the market exists, and follow better, healthier practices. Also, if more people reduced their dependence on low-nutritional-value, boxed foods, and greatly increased their intake of healthy, organic produce there could be better heath, in general. Ultimately, there is no “magic” formula for individual health and longevity, considering the death rate is 100%, and we don’t get to choose our genes.




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  47. Dr. Gregor, it was a treat! I hope I’ll be able to pass this very informative and fanny as hell lecture to some my omnivore friends. Thank you so much!




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  48. Commercially raised meat is no different than any other processed food. Of course it’s going to be bad for you. Same with commercially raised eggs, and fish, and all the rest of the food you say is bad. Grass raised, hormone and antibiotic free animals do not have the same meat composition as feedlot animals and there is science to back that up. Perhaps the problem isn’t so much in the meat, but in what the meat eats before we eat it. Grain is not a natural staple for a cow or a chicken. :)




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  49. Dr. Greger, thank you for the excellent video! I think it would be helpful if you can copy all the sources cited in this video from all the separate videos where they are included to here. It would be much easier to find the relevant sources this way.




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  50. I recently watched the recent video titled “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death”.  I thought it was a very facinating video, but it left me with some questions.  We have recently cut a significant portion of meat out of our diet to where we may eat meat only once or twice a week and still consume eggs, milk, and cheese fairly regularly.  I have not yet been ready to take the full plunge of being a full vegetarian or a vegan. 
    You mentioned a number of different studies that showed the differences between vegans and meat eaters.  Do the studies tell what types of meat was eaten in these surveys?  Is there any difference in results in eating different types of meat?  Is it all the same?  For example are the results the same for eating organic grass fed beef as they are for eating irradiated, hormone and additive filled, altered beef?  Would the results be the same for eating venison or wild game such as turkey, dove, and quail as opposed to beef, chicken, or pork? 
    Would the studies regarding dairy be different if all the participant had only goat or sheep milk or chees instead of cow’s?  Is there a difference between goat, sheep, and cow milk and cheese?  Are there any studies showing differences between raw organic cow or goat milk as opposed to processed pasturized and homogenized milks and cheeses?
    Is there any study to show whether or not better quality animal protiens and fats would produce better results?  By better quality, I mean without pesticides, herbicides, chemical additives, not grown in a lab, etc.
    Basically it comes down to the questions of “Are all animal protiens and fats the same?  Do they all produce the same results?”
    Thanks,–christopher




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    1. there is a diverse number of issues regarding animal product intake. There are inhenerent issues with animal products. Some of these issues include endotoxins, xenoestrogens, contaminants. increased IGF-1 levels and others.

      here are the videos on endotoxins.

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-leaky-gut-theory-of-why-animal-products-cause-inflammation/

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-exogenous-endotoxin-theory/

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/dead-meat-bacteria-endotoxemia/

      chronic inflammation is the primary cause for most chronic illnesses and endotoxins found in animal produts make these foods inherently harmful. endotoxins cannot be avoided with these foods

      Here are some videos on dairy consumption regarding xenoestrogens.

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/dairy-hormonal-interference/

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/dairy-sexual-precocity/

      Xenoestrogensare quite harmful and are great at promoting breast cancer tumors. theseestrogens are an inherent component of milk and cannot be avoided no matter how the milk is processed.

      Dr. Greger is getting to IGF-1 in his future videos but here is a summary regarding it.

      IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) is the primary promoter of cancer growth.
      “Little people” actually have a IGF-1 deficiency and there is almost no recorded case of these groups of the population dying of cancer. IGF-1 is
      present at higher levels in children to promote growth but significantly tapers off as an adult. Increased IGF-1 levels as an adult shortens ones lifespan and promotes tumor growth as this is essentially a growth hormone. Meat, dairy and eggs significantly increase IGF-1 levels in the body and decrease the IGF-1 binding protein in the body. This binding protein binds up the IGF-1 so the body cannot use it.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3357623/

      Why is it that excessive protein promotes these spiked levels of IGF-1? When we dump a high load of protein that resembles the protein structure of our body, our liver reacts to this protein by releasing IGF-1. Our body has all of this raw material to work with so it has the cells grow and divide to use this excess protein up. Our body has no storage mechanism for protein so when an excess is consumed, it must be used and/or released from the body. Our protein needs are fairly low so when we eat a couple eggs for breakfast with a glass of milk, a breast of chicken for lunch and a filet of fish for dinner, we are getting over 110 grams of unnecessary protein. And then we have people who work out and take protein supplements further exceeding this and get close to 200 grams of
      protein a day. This massive load of protein is not only completely unnecessary, but it is very harmful in the long run as we are accelerating the aging process and promoting tumor growth.

      http://edrv.endojournals.org/content/15/1/80.short
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19075184

      The goal then, seems to be to consume adequate, but not excessive protein intake. It appears though that it is not just about excessive protein but the protein structure itself. This is why studies like this one show that protein intake does not affect IGF-1 levels in vegans.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12433724

      It seems that because animal protein so closely resembles the protein structure of our own body, our liver reacts by releasing IGF-1. Plant proteins on the other hand (excluding soy protein) have a different protein structure from that of our own body. We have to break apart the amino acids and put them together again in a way that resembles our own protein. In this way, our liver does not over react. That is why plant protein is preferable.

      Here is a summary on eggs

       
      Eggs are considered good sources of lutein and omega 3 and an excellent source of protein. For these reasons, they are considered health foods. I am going to present the real science behind eggs showing that this is false. Firstly, chickens only have lutein due to the fact that they have a varietized feed, these nutrients are not inherent of eggs. A spoonful of spinach has as much lutein as 9 eggs. We cannot really consider eggs an appropriate source of this nutrient. As for protein, all whole foods are complete sources of protein so this statement to its benefits is insignificant. Energy needs satisfy energy expenditures which is equivalent to protein needs. As long as you eat whole plant foods when your hungry till your full, then your getting enough protein.

      Regarding Omega 3, current levels of omega 3 in eggs are highly inadequate and one must consume around 30 eggs to reach an acceptable level of omega 3 for the day. A male needs around 1.6 grams of omega 3 per day, a female needs around 1.1 grams a day. Omega 3 processes to EPA which is also processed to DHA, which is highly anti inflammatory. Omega 6 processes down to arachadonic acid which is highly inflammatory. The fact that eggs are the top source of arachadonic acid nulls and voids benefits received from the omega 3 in the egg itself. High intake of arachadonic acid is linked to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, as well as a clear link with cancer development.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=20950616%5Buid%5D
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18774339
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21139128

      The Harvard physicians study followed 20,000 doctors for 20 years and those that ate just one egg a day had significant increase in all cause mortality.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400720

      In fact, David Spence, director of stroke prevention/atherosclerosis research center and one of the worlds leading stroke experts, said that based on the latest research, you can eat all the eggs you want IF your dying of a terminal illness. Eggs are not considered health promoting nutritionally speaking.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400699

      Eggs have been linked with heart failure
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18954578

      As well as type 2 diabetes.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628696/?tool=pubmed

      Furthermore, in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, David Spence, David Jenkins (the inventor of the glycemic index) and Jean Davignon (director of atherosclerosis research group) posted a review on eggs claiming that the egg industry has been downplaying the health risks of eggs through misleading advertisements. As soon as you eat one egg, you expose your body to several hours worth of oxidative stress, inflammation of ones arteries, endothelieum impairment (what keeps you blood running smoothly) and increases the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidize (beginning stages of heart disease).
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21076725
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9001684

      The egg industry has claimed that cholesterol from eggs is not important and does not raise cholesterol levels. The fundamental flaw in the study the egg industry has used to make this claim is that they measured FASTING lipid levels at night and not levels through out the day after egg consumption. “Diet is not all about fasting lipids; it is mainly about the three-quarters of the day that we are in the nonfasting state. Fasting lipids can be thought of as a baseline; they show what the endothelium was exposed to for the last few hours of the night.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989358/?tool=pubmed

      A single egg yolk contains approximately 215 to 275 mg of cholesterol. A safe upper limit can be capped at 200 mg if one is looking to prevent heart disease. One egg far exceeds this daily upper limit.

      In regards to egg whites, although true they are a good source of protein, this is possibly the only positive statement that can be made of it. Here is some evidence of a major component of egg whites, Methionine, possibly causing human harm.

      1. Egg whites are high in the amino Acid Methionine. Rice has 14 times less of this amino acid and beans 7 time less. When one consumes Methionine in a large quantity (like that found in egg whites), it is broken down into sulfuric compounds. these sulfuric compounds are buffered by the calcium of the bones. the result, over time, is osteoporosis and kidney stones.
      http://www.vivalis.si/literatura/6a00.pdf

      2. Cancer cell metabolism is dependent upon methionine being present in the diet; whereas normal cells can grow on a methionine-free
      diet feeding off other sulfur-containing amino acids.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14585259
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12416254

      3. Insulin like growth factor is raised significantly by Methionine. raised levels of IGF-1 = accelerated aging/tumor promotion.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12176673
      http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/92/18/1472.abstract

      4. Sulfur from Methionine is known to be toxic to the tissues of the intestine, and to have harmful effects on the human colon, even at low levels, possibly causing ulcerative colitis.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9448181
      http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/82/11/950.abstract

      The balance of evidence is clearly against even moderate consumption of eggs.

      this represents only some of the problems seen with animal product consumption.




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  51. Dr Greger, that was a very interesting video.. I found that i have high chol, That my GP wanted me to take medication. But i made some diet changes and the Chol. has gone down to 6(cutting out cakes,biscuits,pasteries and eating more veg n fruit). Watching your video i found to be inspiring to make me reconcider why i eat meat as part of a presumed healthy diet.I will be looking into changing my diet to remove meat from my meals. Thankyou for a very informative and entertaining video.




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  52. Regarding the comparison of eggs and smoking as derived from the Nurses study, this would apply to meat eaters.  This is a major shortcoming of that study; the results might be very different for those on a plant based diet.




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  53. Dear Dr. Greger,
    It seems from the 1999 meta analysis study below that vegans do not live any longer than meat eaters but that vegetarians live longer than both meat eaters and vegans. Just as surprising is that the number one nutrition related cause for vegan deaths was heart disease followed by strokes and then cancer! How can this be? Can you explain? Terrific website!

    Thank you,

    Ed

    summary:
    http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dxrates

    actual research:
    Key TJ, Fraser GE, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Beral V, Reeves G, Burr ML,
    Chang-Claude J, Frentzel-Beyme R, Kuzma JW, Mann J, McPherson K. Mortality in
    vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings
    from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):516S-524S




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  54. When the studies were done on the endotoxins that meat caused, what type of meats were used?  Were they grass fed, pasture raised cattle or stock?  I think it would be interesting to see that difference……




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    1. the issue of being organic, grassfed or free range should make no difference in regards to endotoxins. Even dark chocolate produced endotoxins but this was neutralized from the phytonutrients. The issue has to do with bacteria fermentation and as you know, you cannot eat meat raw due to the many colonies of bacteria living on the meat.




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  55. Dr. Gregor,

    Thank you for the video, unfortunately I can ever seem to get it to play the whole way through. Can you repost the video or would you be willing to send it to me via email . My fiancé has suffered from depression for sometime now, and I as well. I think we both would benefit from a plant food diet, but getting her to switch may be tough. Is there evidence that eating animal products can lead to depression? If so, where? Any info would be a great help.




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  56. Hello –

    Being that I am approaching my 7th survival year after surgery/radiation, a statistically important year for Naso-Pharyngeal Chordoma people, I have wondered why the chordoma, still snuggled around my brain stem/larynx, has been practically dormant for so long. I have been a vegetarian since my teens and a vegan since 2004, two years prior to the diagnosis in 2005. Today, I take no medications, have no pain and no further symptoms -yet. I am 61 years old too. I’m no tri-athelete either. Is my situation improved because of my vegan, generally whole foods, diet? I doubt many others afflicted have been long time vegans or even vegetarians.
    Thanks for making this connection between brain/bone cancers and diet.




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  57. Dr. Greger is a physician, nutritionist, teacher, and stand-up comedian all rolled into one.  I have watched this video over and over and never get tired of it.




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  58. For some reason, the video would not open, but, I listened and you are amazing Dr. Greger! So helpful and so interesting. Thank you! Pam




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  59. This is how to do a presentation! Real information from an expert, assisted by a quality presentation format, in a readily digestible forms, with an appropriate level of factual detail. Just fantastic on so many levels.




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  60. RE Cholesterol- could it be that the research is skewed.
    If our intake of cholesterol is too low, the body will make enough to make up the shortfall! No wonder cutting cholesterol intake/taking medications has done nothing to reduce the incidence of heart disease.




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    1. Hi Ryan,

      This hour long video was a special treat that Dr. Greger made available to all of us visiting this site (see his note above). I did a quick search using the search tool on this site using the terms “cancer and exercise” and was able to locate what you are looking for right here: Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both?
      . The entire video is 3:44 minutes long, and the specific part you are interested in starts at 3:13. As you will see, if you do the search yourself, there are a lot of mini videos on the topic to explore (and share) there.




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  61. Bravo! This is a much watch video for ANYONE who has children, or parents, or siblings, or friends, or those who eat on a daily basis…. ;)
    I will share… Please let me know what else I can do to spread the word!




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  62. Dr. Greger,

    I know you are aware of what the good folks at VegSource are saying about nuts. According to various articles and a video on that site nuts DO cause excessive weight gain and do NOT protect from diabetes, enhance endothelial function, etc. I love nuts and have been recommending them to loved ones for their purported health benefits but now I am feeling very unsure about their benefits. I just bought 20lbs of almonds to eat and give as gifts so I do have a dog in the ring so to speak. I trust your judgement and I would very much appreciate it if you could address this subject again in light of what is apparently a big controversy in the plant-based community.
    Thanks,
    Ben Grunewald




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    1. Hello @0417ef2be48c8cf1c97b8dec33afb372:disqus,

      I hope you do not mind my chiming in here. I read your comment and thought I could share a response since I do believe that Dr. Greger has already addressed this issue in his nut videos (search for “nuts” on this site or use the Health Topics index also on this site) as well as in the original Jeff Nelson nut article (in the comment section of the article).

      Please also read Gr. Greger’s introductory comment to the Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence video, where he states: “The evidence is stronger than ever that the consumption of nuts does not lead to the weight gain one would expect.”

      Sounds to me like you’ll be okay with that 20lb bag o’ nuts. ;-)




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      1. I saw all of Dr. Greger’s nut related videos before I happened on VegSource. It is precisely the material in Dr. Greger’s videos that is called into question from what I understood. The conflict seem s to be in interpretation of some of the data. Also, it sounds as if the nut-skeptics have some newer studies that seem to refute the benefits described in Dr. Greger’s work. Dr. Greger has replied to one of the written articles and now there is a new video and I just would like to know why there is such seeming disagreement.




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        1. Benjamin Grunewald, Mea culpa.

          After reading in Dr. Greger’s introductory note that he went back and actually revised and up-dated his nut video (extending it by 8 minutes “to cover all of the studies published in the 5 years since”) on August 25, 2012, in light of Jeff Nelson calling attention to Dr. Greger’s “mischaracterization of the 2007 Natoli & McCoy review”, I thought the nut matter was resolved.

          Goodness, does this debate have no end? Now, I too am curious to know where this matter stands at the moment. I will enjoy my handful of nuts until I hear more. ;-)




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          1. Just watched the revised and extended nut video. Good enough for me. I don’t think there is any way to refute all the evidence Dr. Greger presented there though the Vegsource people are certainly trying. I will continue to eat and recommend nuts as part of a whole food plant based diet. Thanks Dr. Greger and WholeFoodChomper.




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      2. The weight is in the dose. Dr. Greger doesn’t recommend pigging out on nuts. Seems to me I’ve even heard Dr. McDougall say to really limit nuts when reducing weight but if at healthy weight one could consume more.




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        1. Doesn’t this all boil down to…”too much of a good thing, is NOT a good thing”…sometimes simple logic and common sense suffices,…in most if not all matters, even and especially when it comes to food?




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  63. Dr. Greger,

    Please make a video that examines coconut sugar as a sweetener. I and several other viewers have requested this in the comments for your Healthiest Sweetener video. I am posting this request here in hopes that it might be noticed. Perhaps you could just add a short section onto your Sweetener video. It appears that coconut sugar may be among the healthiest sweeteners if not the healthiest. My info however comes from the makers of the sugar so I am hoping you can get the “straight dope” on this rising star of sweeteners. I have been eating it in moderation and recommending it to others so I hope it stands up to your scrutiny.
    Thanks




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  64. My spouse and I recently switched to a veggie diet that borders on Vegan (very difficult to eat totally Vegan). We have always been big meat eaters and as a result I have had high cholesterol and high blood pressure (Like needing Meds high for both of them). I’ve discussed these with my doctor and tried to get him to help me with diet issues but he has told me every time that “Cholesterol and Blood Pressure cannot be controlled through diet alone, medications are required”. Well I guess I am kind of stubborn because I started to do some research and what I have found is astonishing, amazing, unbelievable and as I have found from my personal experience, quite true! We have both noticed a few very simple things. 1). We always thought we would miss the meat because of the flavor but that is so not true! The flavor of the food does not come from the meat, it comes from the preparation of the food. Marinades and spices are used in all foods to give that zesty flavor we all crave and savor. 2). I always thought I would be weak and sickly if I didn’t eat meat. Not so at all, my energy level and stamina has increased and so has my strength with no change in my daily routine. I have gotten sick every year in the fall, for nearly 20 years, and it’s always taken over 2 weeks to get over it. This year all I got were the sniffles and a slightly sore throat for 3 days. 3). My mental acuity has gone through the roof!!! I used to have to write everything down or put it in my day planner, calendar, smart phone to remind me, or something like that. Now without even trying I am remembering appointments, peoples names, and I even remember to check my calendar regularly to see if I did forget anything and I haven’t. 4). I dropped 15 lbs. and in no time and my spouse lost close to 20 and we are still taking it off. 5). Probably the most important of the great things about this is that within 6 weeks my Blood Pressure dropped into the normal range for the 1st time in over 10 years. Note there was no scientific study done here, just me living my life in a totally non meat eating way. Note also that the only change was eliminating meat and almost all dairy. Say what you will about the need to eat meat because I’ve read it or heard it all! Veggie is the way to go for us and I don’t think it will ever change. Check out this video if you haven’t already “Forks over Knives” It’s a very well made documentary.




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    1. @d9a8c65ee5b665adb0cbd70655e7fab7:disqus,

      About a year ago, my significant other and I started eating primarily PBD (no meat, dairy, just PBD at home w/ more flexibility when we go out or travel). Compared to how we used to eat (an animal-based product at just about every meal) we made huge and dramatic changes to the way we eat (I mean, HUGE). Admittedly, I am more hard core about our PBD eating than he is, but still he has made some major changes to his eating style.

      You’d think with all the major changes we made to our eating that we’d see some of the same fantastic outcomes that you and others have described experiencing when converting to PBD eating. Alas, neither of us has lost any weight, my blood pressure is still on the elevated side, and his doc still has him taking statins and hypertension meds (he recently got some labs back and his cholesterol numbers were not that good).

      I’ll be honest, all this has been a bit demoralizing and perplexing. Although, at times I struggle convincing him “why we are eating this way”, still we persist knowing that the overall benefits of the PBD are worth it. I just wish that we’d see some improvement in outward health markers (cholesterol, blood pressure, body weight). I will say, though, that I feel better (more alert, energetic, better GI functioning, better sleeping, etc.) on a PBD.

      Has anyone else had similar experiences after converting to a PBD?




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      1. I have been vegan for about 6 years. I am still not slender, but that was never in my constitution. My cholesterol is still high but that may be due to genetic factors and a disability where I can’t exercise like I used to. That being said, I am vegan for life … my primary motivation is for the animals. “No animal harmed” is a beautiful thing to me. Taking the blinders off and not being complicit in murder gives meaning to my life.

        Perhaps you and your SO can see it that way too :) ?




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        1. ifyoucareenough:

          Thank you for sharing your experience and your words of wisdom with me. It helps to be reminded of the many other reasons to eat a PBD.

          Eating a PBD is more than a diet issue for me, as well. It is about being a good steward of our environment, respecting and caring for all of our animals and the people who work in the food industry. And, you bring up a very good point regarding genetic predisposition to certain health conditions, as well.




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      2. Oh, I will mention that a terrible, embarrassing gagging cough condition diagnosed erroneously as LPR (laryngopharangeal reflux) that I had for decades bit the dust soon after nixing the dairy. That’s huge to me. Will the doctors listen and urge their patients to go dairy-free? Very few.

        Don’t give up on being vegan. The animals need you, and there’s more at stake than just the animals.




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  65. Great video with great information, thank you!

    I
    love Data! I would still like to see the Data on the all the potential
    variations of Portlandia Diets below. I would love to see the Data on
    the first 2 weeks, 1 Month, 3 Months, 6 Months, 1 Year, 2 Years, 5
    Years, 10 Years, 20, 30 etc.

    LIke this…
    Non Organic, Factory Farmed
    Non Organic, Non Factory Farmed Meat with no Hormones or Antibiotics
    Organic, Non Factory Farmed Meat with no Hormones or Antibiotics
    Organic, Non Factory Farmed Meat with no Hormones or Antibiotics with reduced meat
    Organic, Non Factory Farmed Meat with no Hormones or Antibiotics one meat dish a day
    Organic Plant Based Diet
    Organic Vegan Diet

    But include these potential variables…
    BPA Free

    Minimize
    all Food in Plastic, No Tupperware, No Drinks in Plastic Containers, No
    Food Stored in Plastic, this includes Produce at the Grocery Store, No
    Food Microwaved in Plastic.
    Organic Diet, Non Factory Farmed Meat with no Hormones or Antibiotics, Minimal Plastics &

    Wild Caught Fish

    No Food Microwaved ever, hardly ever, a several a week, several a day.

    No Food Processed with Preservatives ever, hardly ever, a several a week, several a day.

    No Bleached Sugar ever, hardly ever, a several a week, several a day.

    No Bleach ever, hardly ever, a several a week, several a day.

    No Artificial Sweeteners ever, hardly ever, a several a week, several a day.

    People
    who take Vitamins on a regular basis…a couple times a day, once a
    day, a couple times a week, only when not feeling well.

    Far
    too often we are told about the horrific ways that we Farm Meat. We are
    told that the answer is to stop eating meat instead of Farming Healthy
    Meat. As if it is impossible to meet the Meat Demands for a Growing
    Global Population. I have found many Sustainable Solutions. I also
    believe in the Native American perspective of thanking the animal &
    giving respect to the animals during & after their life.

    This is one of the best ways that I have found to eat healthy meat in a sustainable fashion. Now since the Fish
    Farm increases the local bird population, what if we ate some of those
    Sustainable birds? Wild ducks, geese, osprey and turkey are native to
    this area we could reintroduce into the Fish Farms Ecosystem. We
    only eat that which is Sustainable. We do not create too much to be a
    burden on the environment. Nor do we do anything that would damage the healthy Sustainable Symbiotic Relationship with the Ecosystem.

    Here is an example of Sustainable Fish Farm that creates a clean Ecosystem…
    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_how_i_fell_in_love_with_a_fish.html

    Sustainable & Humane Foie Gras!
    Every
    time this man runs into a problem he solves it how it should be solved,
    with Nature. We need to find the Harmony of (Wo)Man & Nature
    Working Together.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_s_surprising_foie_gras_parable.html

    Be Helpful, Not Hurtful




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    1. “I also believe in the Native American perspective of thanking the animal & giving respect to the animals during & after their life.”

      How noble and generous of you. Don’t you think this is a just a little bit bit of a self-serving rationalization? What good does this do the animal? The animal wants to live its life unharassed and free just like you and I. I doubt they would thank you for your thank you. It’s 2013 already and it’s time to stop the archaic, maladaptive thinking. Dire circumstances of survival is the only caveat that would make taking an animal’s life not murder.

      “As if it is impossible to meet the Meat Demands for a Growing
      Global Population”

      Ha, I think you give humans too much credit. We’ve shown very little social responsibility so far … unregulated in our popping out of babies … and tragic in the way we care for those babies … we’re more stupid than smart. Ok well if you want to stick your head in the sand and that makes you feel better, go ahead.

      Then at the end you say “be helpful, not hurtful”. Really? Helpful to me, and people who have these issues through with both their hearts and their minds, is that being helpful means no animal harmed. It’s really a beautiful thing both personally, and collectively … I highly recommend it.




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  66. The human behavior of breeding animals is, in itself, a disgusting and dark thing. Please read “Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust”, by Charles Patterson.




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  67. I’m no scientist, neither am I suggesting that my opinion is any more than just that. All I can say is I feel it’s naive to suggest that meat is a major cause of weight-gain. I think there are a thousand more obvious issues at hand and that changing to a vegan diet simply corrects health issues as a result of improving the overall nutritional profile of what people are eating.

    I also think it’s too simple to suggest we all become vegan. I truly believe there is room on all of our plates for raw plant foods and we can certainly benefit from adding more, but to entirely eliminate meat is just not realistic or healthy.

    Human beings have lost the plot when it comes to food and food production. Over-consumption of processed foods is the real issue, lets get back to basics and have healthy food cooking classes in school that teach children how to make real food.




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    1. I wish some consciousness-raising would go toward looking at animals from a non-anthroprocentric mindset. Are animals really “meat:”? I say no, they are beings in their own right. Not put here for human’s objectification as “meat” and use.

      I wish “meat” would disappear from our vocabulary.

      If aliens came to earth and saw you as “meat”, would that then make you meat?”




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  68. Told with great humor and clarity – this is a valuable message. The comparisons are vivid enough for me to re-think my vegetarian diet and escalate to true vegan diet.




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  69. I learned immediately that animal products induce pain within four hours after consumption. There is nothing like a painful spinal injury to get me off meat, dairy, and wheat and reduce nut consumption.




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  70. I’ve eaten a purely plant-based diet for seven years and believe it’s one of the best decisions of my life (after marrying my wife). I loved this video, and just saw you speak at ‘New Year, New You’ in Marshall, TX, which was a great experience.

    I wonder if you wouldn’t address a somewhat depressing hypothetical question that occurred to me as I enjoyed your presentation on the 15 leading causes of death.

    What would the 15 leading causes of death likely be in the U.S. if nothing was changed other than everyone following your dietary guidelines perfectly from cradle to grave?

    1. Banana peels?

    I looked to China, but doubt that’s as relevant and helpful as their diet is increasingly westernized.




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  71. Such vital information! Every student doctor, nurse, naturopath, dietician, nutritionist, etc should HAVE to watch this!Thankyou so much for your amazing work




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  72. This is a shame and a disgrace. Ephesians 4:14. Following people who proliferate their “beliefs” for money. This guy is the perfect example of every wind of doctrine. He is in it for the money, and he knows you vegans utilize only part of your brain. Buy this crap, and make him rich.




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    1. While I completely agree that you should be leary of the snake-oil salesman types who “proliferate their beliefs for money”, I just want to draw your attention to the fact that Dr. Michael Greger is offering all of the information on this site for free.

      It’s truly wonderful that all of the proceeds from the sale of Dr. Greger’s videos are donated to charity and that he has not commercialized this popular site with advertisements or product-selling scams. It’s as astonishing as it is refreshing!

      In fact, even the content of Dr. Greger’s DVDs are posted here for free for any of the 2 billion internet-connected people on Earth to benefit from without paying him even 1 cent.

      For me, this fact really reinforces the integrity and veracity of the information he presents here.




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    1. Karna: Yes! The DVD is $10. Between this video and may I recommend also, Forks Over Knives, your kids will get a great education. You can find both videos on Amazon (which you get free shipping if your total order is over $25). I haven’t checked lately, but you used to be able to get the Uprooting… video from Dr. Greger’s site.




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      1. Hello, I am squeezing in my message in here because the comments are really long. I wanted to say that your work is hands down the best I have seen. Your so clear on how you articulate your thoughts and its refreshing to hear so much evidence to back up the vegan life style. I was wondering if you do your own research studies. I am still amazed on how vegan blood kills cancer cells. Any possibility that future studies on transfusing vegan blood into patients with cancer. It would be nice to see the outcome. I have been vegan for almost 2 years and feel great! Thanks again Dr for passing on the wonderful news




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  73. I am vegan activist for 5 years now, and for life, because my #1 motivation is for the animals. When I started out I was very militant, but now 5 years later after hearing the myriad of reasons against veganism, I have to take pause and accept that for some people animal protein is necessary for them to feel well. How does one argue with the experience of people who say they tried to go vegan but didn’t feel well? There is so much being said about “nutritional type”. Is it possible that some people genuinely cannot do well on a vegan diet? Is there any consensus of what evolutionary biologists say?

    I am so confused. Dr. Greger (or anyone else) , could you please address why veganism is so controversial from a medical standpoint?




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    1. ifyoucareenough: I’m not an evolutionary biologist, but I have some thoughts for you.

      First: Dr. Greger has a video on a rare genetic disorder where a
      boy’s body was not able to make one of the non-essential amino acids. Humans can get all of the essential amino acids that we need from a vegan diet – but that is assuming that a person’s body can make all of the other amino acids. If not, then the person either does have to eat meat or take a pill. It is possible that you have talked to some people who have this (rare!) genetic disorder. But it is my guess that most of the time, one of the following had been more likely going on:

      Second: When someone says that they tried vegan and didn’t do well on it, I have to wonder what their diet was like. You can eat chips and white pasta and white bread and processed foods and oil drenched sauces and call yourself a vegan. That is not healthy eating, however, and no wonder they felt bad. No one is saying that eating “vegan” by itself is good. Healthy eating is about whole plant foods with B12 and D supplements.

      Third: Even someone eating healthy foods might be missing out on a key ingredient like supplementing B12. Once again, it is a case of the human doing vegan wrong, not a case of something being wrong with whole-plant foods based eating.

      Fourth: Some people have higher needs for certain nutrients at certain times of their lives compared to other times. If they are not paying attention to their special needs, then there could be problems. For example, menstruating women typically need more iron compare to other humans. They can get the needed iron from whole plant foods, paying special attention to getting some vitamin C (if I remember correctly) with the plant iron to increase absorption – or they can just give up and say that the vegan diet didn’t work for them. With the incredible lack of education out there, how are people suppose to know what they are doing wrong? Their doctor is unlikely to be able to tell them….

      Fifth: I don’t think people should discount the power of suggestion and self-fulfilling prophesies. If you get in with a crowd who constantly tells you that you need meat and dairy, you might subconsciously start to believe it. And such a belief could lead to feeling bad without those foods. I don’t have any science to back this up. I just personally suspect it is a factor in some cases of people giving up on vegan eating.

      To address the question of: “Is there any consensus…” There is not a consensus among people, but I think there is a concensus in the actual science. Once you start doing the research, watching videos such as this one, watching the other videos on this website, reading books like The China Study, etc, etc. – it becomes pretty clear that the big picture on the healthiest diet for humans is a whole-plant food based diet, supplemented with B12 and D. We may tweak our understanding of healthy foods as time goes by, but the general big picture seems unchanged for decades.

      Hope you found these thoughts helpful.




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      1. I have one more thought for you concerning: “could you please address why veganism is so controversial from a medical standpoint?”

        I don’t think it is controversial from an actual medical perspective. However, there are medical professionals, most who are not educated in nutritional science (check out Dr. Greger’s videos on the amount of nutritional education our doctors get), who do not support a vegan diet. Why?

        Here’s my answer (and it is one that I have read in several other places): Going back hundreds (thousand?) of years, eating meat has been strongly associated with economic success and higher social status/class. It is deeply, deeply engrained in many societies. Doctors are people too and come from our society. It is just as hard for medical professionals as it is for the non-medical to even imagine that eating meat is not good for us. Again, I highly recommend reading The China Study which does a good job of addressing this kind of bias and showing that the controversy does not have much to do with the science. Also, check out Dr. Greger’s video on the tomato effect.

        Again, I hope you found this helpful.




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        1. Thank you Thea, your comments reinforce my take on the thing too. But with all the Weston A. Price type detractors who also talk a good game and have billions of followers, I am just expressing my intense frustration that it seems like a sisyphean effort to change the paradigm.

          I made the mistake of going on a Dr. Mercola message board recently, and it was quite an unpleasant education to witness the extent of the emotional deadening, ignorance and resistance out there. Makes ya want to stop the world and get off. Just feelin’ depressed. I’ll be okay.




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          1. I understand the need for some moral support!

            I just had a conversation with a person who happens to be a social worker. I was explaining the ways in which dairy is bad for you. He couldn’t wrap his head around it and insisted it is good for you. I said as nicely and calmly and non-judgmental as you can imagine/an honest question: “Is it possible that you are not aware of all of the science?…” He did think about it for a second. Then he strongly shook his head, “no”.

            There is nothing you can do with people like that. He didn’t want to discuss it after that. We do have a long ways to go. At times like these, I find it helpful to spend some time dwelling on how far we have come. Think about how much more awareness there is about animal cruelty, health, etc than there used to be. Thanks for your hard work in this area. People like me appreciate it.




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            1. There’s so much “dealing with the devil” that has to be done — like this appalling thing: http://www.meetup.com/For-The-Good-of-The-Animals/events/99732962/ where donations to dog & cat shelters are largely made by carnists and the assumption is that if they don’t serve meat they won’t get the attendance/donations. I think they should challenge those assumptions (and I intend to write some letters) because I can’t, or don’t want to believe that people give money on the condition of what the food is going to be.

              Anyway, I know I’m digressing. Thanks Thea for your kind reply, and I appreciate you too :)!




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  74. If Vegans are not dying from these causes of death, what are they dying from? What are the leading causes of death for Vegans? I switched to Vegan after your video & the movie, “Forks Over Knives.” Thanks.




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  75. Beautiful! I cried at the end because people like you are the reason I still have hope in humanity. I will do everything I can to make sure to tell as many people as possible about you and your wonderful site. I cannot thank you enough for your work Dr. Gregger!




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  76. Dr Gregor, I’m interested in recent research into Salvestrols and wondered if you had come across any papers which they have been discussed, tested or reviewed? Kind regards, Jim.




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  77. The information in this video, combined with the beauty of how you give the message is amazing! I cried at the end because I am so happy that there are people like you working so hard to make the world a better place. Thank you for being you Dr. G.




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  78. In your video you are in favour of eating nuts because they have good health benefits. Dr’s Essestyne and Ornish prohibit them in their diets for treating Heart Disease. Why the different opinions?




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      1. Awesome vetstud2! I (a mere lay person) was going to say something about the obvious flaws of Hall’s arguments, but I could never have done as good a job as the page you found. Thanks.




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      1. Unfortunately Don – a acupuncture proponent (pseudoscience) – didn’t check Hall’s references properly (although Hall could do a better job of not spewing her agenda at the start of the article and have better referencing).

        1. Greger is citing Esselstyn’s research in the end of this video which Don missed which has not been replicated by any other researcher and had flawed methodology to begin with. Even Ornish research was flawed and hasn’t been replicated either.
        2. The Nurses’ health study statistic was cherry picked and meta analysis’ show no effect of dietary cholesterol on heart disease, especially not comparable to smoking. However saturated fat is a risk factor which Hall should have acknowledged and which Greger should have used instead.

        There are numerous other points but the thing is that both Greger and Hall are agenda driven and not reliable sources here. Greger is exaggerating a lot and cherry picking. Hall is trying to dismiss the entire idea of a healthy plant based diet and has numerous ad hominem fallacies in her article.




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        1. Indeed Greger is quoting a conclusion from that paper in the conclusion of his own talk. However, he has not used that paper in his argumentation (he came to this conclusion through other means), so weaknesses in that paper cannot invalidate his argument.




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  79. I nominate you as the Best Joker of Medicine. In your next presentation you may put red nose and catch the younger generation… They need more of what you are saying.




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  80. Why aren’t you on the presidents council? Or maybe Flotus council ( even though she loves the camera)or Bloomberg stopping 32oz drinks! Does anyone think these things work? Answer NO, only your video tells the truth. Thanks so much




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  81. Please give more info on Type 1 Diabetes and a whole plant food diet. Some diabetics view starches as the enemy. I would like more evidence or tips that would convince friends to shift their Western diet to a healthier one.




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    1. I second that. Although it still doesn’t mean that doctors will change what they are telling their patients. And doctors are still “god” to patients. My boyfriend, who is a committed ethical vegan, has a son who is a type 1 diabetic. His son is very accessible to becoming an ethical vegan because of what he has learned from his dad, but his doctor told him that he needs animal protein in his diet. So he eats alot of fish, and some chicken.

      I don’t have the nerve to say a word of interference in his son’s diet. Would anyone here be able to? It’s too delicate.




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    2. Pam: If you have not already read it, you might want to check out the book: “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program For Reversing Diabetes”. He addresses Type 1 in the book. It may not be as much information as you would like, but I don’t think that we have all the answers for Type 1 yet either. I think this book will help answer your questions though. I thought the book was awesome.




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  82. I just want to know how a person, on a very limited budget, can eat vegetarian or vegan?

    I am 51, female, obese, unemployed.

    I eat very little beef or pork, I eat ground turkey, chicken legs and thighs, tuna and, if they are on sale, fish like Salmon, perch,whiting, cat fish or talapia.

    I only get corn, carrots, peas and, when on sale, tomatoes, lettuce and bell peppers.

    I eat fruit but can’t always afford them. Bananas, tangerines, clementines , apples, oranges, pears.

    I also eat a lot of pastas! They are inexpensive!

    I love healthy foods but don’t have the finances for them!

    But, I have noticed a huge change in my health in the past 4 years!

    BP is a little higher than normal, I’m having pain on right side of chest and in my back, may be caused by Gall Bladder, have noticed a lot of stiffness in hands and body, I have tendonitis in both hands, had CTS in both hands, Numbness and tingling in my lips, feet get cold and can’t get warm, I have allergies to dust, mold and pollen, I’m sick every year at the same time, from September to April and sometimes even break out with cold sores, I am always coughing and sneezing and have to keep a box of Kleenex close, I also have a very bad allergy to any Nickle product. I touch anything with Nickle in it and get these hives or patches on my skin where it came in contact with the item! They itch and look more like ring worm but are not. I’ve had some of my problems since childhood, but most have started in the past 4 years! Maybe even longer than that!

    I had just lost 51lbs over a 5 month period, but then the severe back pain started and left me close to immobile for days at a time! It was in the lower lumbar area!

    How can a person, like me, on a very tight budget, say, like about $50 a week for 2 adults, on a good payday, eat a very healthy, vegetarian diet to get healthy and lose excess weight??

    I have no idea how severe my health is because we have no health insurance and can’t afford to go to a doctor or the hospital!!

    I have also been depressed lately, but I just though it was from losing my 2 cats in the past year and not being able to find a job. But, from what you’ve said in your speech, it could be my diet causing all my health issues??

    I need help but don’t know where to turn.

    I want to get healthy so that I can find work! I also need work so that I can get healthy! A “Catch 22 Situation”!
    Any ideas will help!
    Thank you,
    Brenda W.




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    1. Good for you for wanting to make some positive changes in your eating habits and lifestyle! Trying to eating plant-based and whole foods on a limited budget is most definitely a real economic challenge for many many people in the U.S. I have a few suggestions that may be helpful to you.

      First, watch as many videos as you can on this site. There are many suggestions on how to integrate healthy food into your diet. Dr. Greger even has “cost savings” indexed in the “Health Topics” side bar. Look under that category to get info on how to get the most for your buck.

      Second, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put a helpful resource guide called Good Food on a Tight Budget. I think you might some very helpful tips in there.

      Third, seek out the available food banks in your community, and get groceries that are as unprocessed as possible. You may also want to see if there is a discount grocery store in your area where you can purchase either frozen fruits and veggie or canned fruits, veggies, and beans (without salt, sugar).

      Fourth, see if there are any other resources in your community that can assist you economically (e.g., food stamps, food support, financial support, etc.)

      Fifth, seek out as much information on the plant-based eating as you can either on the internet or at books borrowed from the library. The more you read and learn, the more you will be able to figure out ways to eat as healthfully as possible on a tight budget; it will also keep you inspired to maintain the changes you are making. (Maybe you can start cultivating a list of economical plant-based recipes to prepare.)

      Finally, you may want to explore the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website (among many others out there), and you may want to check out “Vegan Unplugged: A Pantry Cuisine Cookbook and Survival Guide” by Jon Robertson from your library. It is meant to be an emergency preparedness guide for vegans, but I think it offers some great options for those on a limited budget as well.

      Does anyone else out there have any additional practical tips or economical recipes to share with Brenda?

      Brenda, wishing you all the best of luck. Please keep us updated on your progress.




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    2. Brenda: I recommend investing in two cookbooks: “Eat Vegan on $4 Per Day” and “Vegan On the Cheap”. It’s very possible to live healthy on a tight budget. I can attest personally to the recipes in the Vegan On the Cheap book. Yummy!!! And affordable!!! I’ve only tried a couple recipes from the other, but they were both good. I met the author and she told me about her research to make sure that the recipes truly are affordable.

      A thought for you: Replace your animal products and foods with white flour with dried beans, lentils and whole grains and you will be doing your body a wonderful service and put a savings in your pocket book. Dried beans are very cheap and extremely nutritious, filling, tasty and flexible. You can do everything from soups to stews to casseroles to desserts with beans as the main ingredient.

      That’s my 2 cents. Best of luck to you.




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    3. Good for you for wanting to make some positive changes in your eating habits and lifestyle! Trying to eating plant-based and whole foods on a limited budget is most definitely a real economic challenge for many many people in the U.S. I have a few suggestions that may be helpful to you.

      First, watch as many videos as you can on this site. There are many suggestions on how to integrate healthy food into your diet. Dr. Greger even has “cost savings” indexed in the “Health Topics” side bar. Look under that category to get info on how to get the most for your buck.

      Second, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put a helpful resource guide called Good Food on a Tight Budget. I think you might some very helpful tips in there.

      Third, seek out the available food banks in your community, and get groceries that are as unprocessed as possible. You may also want to see if there is a discount grocery store in your area where you can purchase either frozen fruits and veggie or canned fruits, veggies, and beans (without salt, sugar).

      Fourth, see if there are any other resources in your community that can assist you economically (e.g., food stamps, food support, financial support, etc.)

      Fifth, seek out as much information on the plant-based eating as you can either on the internet or at books borrowed from the library. The more you read and learn, the more you will be able to figure out ways to eat as healthfully as possible on a tight budget; it will also keep you inspired to maintain the changes you are making. (Maybe you can start cultivating a list of economical plant-based recipes to prepare.)

      Finally, you may want to explore the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website (among many others out there), and you may want to check out “Vegan Unplugged: A Pantry Cuisine Cookbook and Survival Guide” by Jon Robertson from your library. It is meant to be an emergency preparedness guide for vegans, but I think it offers some great options for those on a limited budget as well.

      Does anyone else out there have any additional practical tips or economical recipes to share with Brenda?

      Brenda, wishing you all the best of luck. Please keep us updated on your progress.




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    4. Sorry to read about your situation. Thea had some excellent suggestions. In my experience eating a plant based diet is alot less expensive then the standard American diet. Pasta is an excellent choice but so are potatos and rice. Rice can often be purchased in bulk. The cost of meat, dairy and eggs are high even with the government subsidies. You need to come up a basic menu that works for your family… 1-2 for breakfast, 3-4 for lunch, and 6-8 for dinner works for most folks. If you have access to the internet through public library or friend you can get excellent recipes and information about health from Dr. John McDougall’s website. You might start by viewing his free lecture on The Starch Solution… look under free lectures and check out the many free recipes courtesy of his wife, Mary, as well. If you have some space you might consider planting some herbs or vegetables to help offset the cost of food. Farmers markets can be helpful if you have access as foods that are seasonal as they tend to be cheaper. I would build the diet around starches with a variety of vegetables and occasional fruits and beans. The only supplement you will need if you eat a well designed plant based diet is Vitamin B12 which is inexpensive as a tablet or can be obtained by eating foods such as soy or almond milk which are often enriched. You should view the series of videos by Dr. Greger in February 2012. Unfortunately many of us have conditions courtesy of years of poor eating which we are stuck with but the body given the right nutrition can stablilize, reverse and often cure many of these conditions. I have been impressed by the progress of my patients who eat healthy. Good luck.




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  83. How vegan is vegan?
    Dr. Greger: I have taken your “Leading Causes of Death” video to heart, and am trying to follow a vegan diet; but I wonder how strictly it has to be followed in order to have the benefits you describe. I eat strictly vegan at home, but when I go to a potluck meal, is it OK if the salad has some shreds of cheese sprinkled on it, or if the strawberries are dipped in milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate? Does it make a significant difference if the vegetable oil French fries are fried in have also had fish fried in it? If the fifth item on the “contains less than two percent…” list on a label is “sweet dairy whey”? How much animal-product contamination negates the nutritional benefit of a plant-based diet ? Thanks!




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    1. Kennita: Congratulations on making such a significant change in your diet.

      I’m not Dr. Greger, but maybe these thoughts will be helpful to you.

      >>How strict do you have to be?
      I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that. Even if such an answer existed, I think it would be a huge, “it depends” based on a variety of factors. There wouldn’t be a clear, “three bites a week is fine, after that, you are hosed”. So much depends on your genetics, environment, and what you are really eating.

      I think we can say that the occasional cheat is probably fine health-wise. But how much is occasional? Once a year? Once a week? ??? What I have picked up from Dr. Greger’s videos and other materials I have read is that our health on animal foods is a sliding scale. It also seems that it doesn’t take that much animal food to push people into real risk levels. Thus, it falls on you to decide how much risk you want to take. One bite of milk chocolate a month. Probably fine. After that, you are on your own. ;-) (Of course, I just made that up to make a point.)

      If it was me, I would not make as many exceptions as you do, because it all adds up. On the other hand, you do not want to start to feel deprived, because then you might give up completely. So, I recommend thinking about what is really important to you. Is that bite of milk chocolate vital, but the potlucks could be something you take a stand on? Or vica versa? So, start down a healthier path by just making those exceptions which are super important to you, but making fewer other exceptions. Try to go down a path that takes you in a healthy direction rather than going cold turkey or doing nothing. That’s just my opinion.

      Another thought I have for you is to find other motivations. I know lots of people who are only semi-motivated by health arguments. Even people who wholly acknowledge that a whole plant food diet with b12 supplement is by far the healthiest diet, find themselves making lots of exceptions or unable to change at all. BUT when they learn about the ethical and environmental arguments for a whole plant food diet, they become very motivated. Those little exceptions no longer seem palatable.

      In that light, you might consider watching movies like: Vegucated, Food Inc, Earthlings, Glass Walls (available free on youtube), etc. And read a book called The Veganist, which one of my staunch meat-eating co-workers found motivating. It doesn’t take much research to find the environmental information either. Consider the strong link between a plant diet and slowing global climate change. And find articles like this one (that broke my heart):
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-pincus-kajitani/want-to-save-starving-sea_b_2897651.html

      Learn that stuff and you will find yourself *wanting* to no longer make those exceptions that also happen to hurt your health.

      That’s my 2 cents. In the mean time, celebrate your existing progress. Good for you!




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      1. Thanks for the input! I do pretty well (at the Ostara potluck, I skipped the chocolate chip cookies, but had one Whole Grain Fig Newton (which had whey somewhere low on the ingredient list). I think I can keep it to that level pretty easily; absolute zero-tolerance would probably be too stressful.

        I’ll try to find some of those movies you mentioned — thanks!

        Live long and prosper,
        Kennita




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    2. I agree with Thea, moderation is extremely difficult to maintain as a lot of a little unhealthy foods here and there can quicklyy become the bulk of the calories.




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  84. when the correlations are so unbelievably surprising, it is perhaps simply because they are not to be believed….. Correlation is NOT causality!




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    1. guest: re: “when the correlations are so unbelievably surprising…” That’s your ignorance of the science showing. These results are not only not surprising, but quite common. Time to take notice?




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  85. I think a fundamental out-of-the-box look at the use of the word “meat” would put everything into clarity. It is just a linguistic euphemism, and a way of distancing ourselves from the truth — the truth that “meat” was once a whole animal with a face, and emotions, and a desire to live unmolested just like we do.

    I ask, are animals really “meat”? Or do they exist in this world for their own reasons. If aliens came from another planet and saw us as “meat” would that then make us “meat”?

    It’s time to take a hard look at this word that we never question … a word that objectifies and commodifies animals to the status of nothing. It’s one and the same with the dehumanization of women and men who are imaged as “meat” in our sick society. Relegate to “the Other”. Feel no empathy.

    Come on non-vegans — time to open your heart and evolve.

    Let’s phase out the word “meat” from our vocabulary.




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    1. Nick, there is a little button that says “cc” under the video in the tool bar. Click on that to turn on closed captioning.




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  86. Dr. Greger — You are totally the best! This is an awesome video. I am recommending this video to everyone I know. This information should be available in Spanish!!! I would love to help get the word out to the Latino community. Let me know how I can help.

    LUZ!!

    Irene from MyHealthyCocina — Health Starts in the kitchen.




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  87. Mr Greger, may I embed Russian subtitles in this video and upload on my YouTube account? I’ll provide all references to original video and this site – I just ask permission in order not to violate copyright.




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  88. Bravo! Love it! My grandson was diagnosed with MDS at the age of 17. One of the things I asked just about everyone that I spoke with at the time, in the medical profession, was the importance of diet. Everyone said the same thing, “it’s not important!” I suppose they gave up on him right from the start. I’ll never know if things might have been different with a vegan diet. The MDS eventually became Leukemia and he died at age 20. Anyway, I really enjoyed this presentation on “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death”, taped on July 12, 2012, and would really like to be able to see more of these informative videos. Also, aside from the obvious, what would be the best way to begin a vegan diet? Is there a way to subscribe to these longer videos?




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    1. MaryJS: I just sent a reply to Shaheen with ideas about how to get started on eating healthy. Check out those ideas.

      I also wanted to express condolences. That’s such a sad story. My thoughts are with you.

      Concerning the videos: Most of videos Dr. Greger posts on this site are 2-4 minutes long, though some are longer and happily so! Even though the videos are shorter than this one, they often tell a story / are part of series. I recommend finding the first video of volume 1 (I’m not sure how to do that as the search didn’t work the last time I tried it), watch it, then use the the “Next Video” link on the panel on the right of the screen. You can keep doing that until you have eventually seen all the videos all. So, you will have watched literally hours and and hours worth of videos to meet that desire of yours to see longer videos. Well worth your time as there is a lot more information out there than was in this one video. (Though I agree that this one video is great too.)

      Good luck.




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  89. I really enjoyed this video and intend on showing it to my communications students as a good example of effective academic presenting (with the hopes that they’ll take the content in as well).

    Living in Korea I’ve gradually reduced my meat intake as Koreans traditionally treat meat as more a garnish than a basic ingredient (becoming what I’d call a ‘lessetarian’). I would like to know what the good doctor thinks about yogurt, something I still enjoy a great deal with cereals and nuts. Bad but not so bad? :>




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    1. Ken: Good for you for going on the lessetarian path. Hopefully you can go on a lessetarian path with your dairy consumption too. From all of the dairy videos I’ve seen on this NutritionFacts site, plus what I have read about dairy in books like The China Study and Building Bone Vitality – diary is AT LEAST as bad as meat.

      I think one of the Dr.s in the Interviews follow up DVD for Forks Over Knives refers to dairy (ie, yogurt, etc.) as “liquid meat”. That really stuck with me.

      I don’t know if they sell such things where you are, but companies do sell plant-based yogurts. I vastly prefer the coconut ones to the soy ones, but it is a personal preference and I suspect that the soy ones are healthier. Also, I there are recipes out there for making your own plant-based yogurts. (For example, check out the book Artisan Vegan Cheeses.) So, if you are interested, you DO have options.

      That’s awesome that you are pointing your students to this video. I agree that it is an extremely wonderful example of how to present academic materials in a way that people can take in and enjoy. Good luck to you and your students.




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  90. Saw this talk at the Vegfest in Tampa a couple months ago. I’m glad it’s on video now!! So incredibly interesting AND entertaining. Thank You Dr. Greger for your vast curiosity and desire to educate the public!! I am definitely passing this on!!




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    1. Lots of great recipe sites on the web. I like Happy Herbivore if you dont know what to cook, she has a recipe plan you can buy for really cheap and you can relearn how to cook. Don’t buy prepackaged foods. They are just as bad for you as prepackaged non vegan foods. Good luck you can do it! fatfreevegan is another great site!




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    2. Toni’s ideas are very good. There are some great sites that give you plenty of free ideas.

      Two other ideas for you are: 1) cookbooks. There are two book that I think are good for beginners: Everyday Happy Herbivore and Vegan On the Cheap.

      2) Do one of PCRM’s (Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine) 21 Kickstart programs. They hold your hand through 21 days with meal plans, recipes, inspirational messages, etc. And it’s free.

      Once you get started, you will be amazed at the variety and fulfillingness (I know I made that up) of the food dishes available to people who eat healthy.

      Best of luck to you!




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  91. Hi Dr. Greger,

    I have seen rumors going around about fruit from the Graviola tree aka Sour Sop, aka Soursop. The claims are that it is an effective cancer killer. Have you seen any conclusive evidence one way or the other?




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  92. Doc, Have you ever studied h202 treatments?

    Love your work! I started cutting all breads, meats out of my diet and started eating raw and cooked vegetables and four months later I have come down with ulcerative colitis. crazy right.

    So, now I am doing h202 treatments in hopes it will clear up the colitis?

    Thanks,




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  93. What about the theory that cholesterol is a myth?? In The Great Cholesterol Myth, Bowden and Sinatra show the source of heart disease is SUGAR and inflammation. Just as many people die of heart disease who have low cholesterol as have high. Total cholesterol tells you nothing about your risk for heart disease…in fact our brains NEED it so total cholesterol should be between 200-250. Organic Eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, butter…saturated fat…all encouraged. What matters is the kind of LDLs you have. So how can two such opposing theories be correct? Dr. Greger, can you address this?




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    1. The theory is based on misconstrued science and goes completely against what countless studies have shown for years. Perhaps the appeal is that it is rebellious and against the “system”, but there is truly no justification whatsoever to think that carbohydrates cause heart disease. Dr. Greger’s link below will take you to his free e-book carbophobia which gathers the science on this subject.




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